Jerusalem is not for sale. Abbas’ answer to Trump and Netanyahu

‘Jerusalem is not for sale, your conspiracy deal will not pass’ – Abbas reacts to Trump’s Middle East peace deal

28 Jan, 2020

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has slammed US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan, declaring “Jerusalem is not for sale” and warning that the “conspiracy deal will not pass.”

Your conspiracy deal will not pass and the Palestinian people will reject it,” Abbas warned on Tuesday after Trump unveiled his long-awaited plan for peace between Israel and Palestine.

Calling it “impossible” for Palestinians to “accept a state without Jerusalem,” which would remain the US-recognized capital of Israel under Trump’s plan, Abbas made his feelings absolutely clear on the matter. “No, no, a big no to the ’deal of the century.’” The plan, he predicted, would be consigned to the “dustbin of history.”

Vowing not to “bow to the demands of the occupation,” Abbas announced a new round of negotiations with Fatah and stated that Palestine was ready to meet with the Middle East Quartet, which has advised on the Israel-Palestine peace process for nearly two decades.

Trump released a “conceptual map” of his two-state solution on Twitter after his speech, showing a much-reduced West Bank honeycombed with Israeli settlements. While these ethnically-segregated outposts are illegal under international law, the peace plan recognizes them as permanent – though imposes a four-year freeze on construction of further settlements. A tunnel connects the West Bank and Gaza, and two chunks of desert land in Israel’s southwest are added to Palestine, connected by a tiny strip of land to Gaza.

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The deal situates the proposed capital of the Palestinian state in East Jerusalem outside an existing security barrier that divides Arab neighborhoods from the rest of Jerusalem – but does not include the Old City, currently home to many of the city’s Palestinian residents.

While Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu was standing beside Trump as he detailed the proposed plan, no Palestinian representative was present at the speech. Abbas’ Palestinian Authority preemptively scorned the deal, having cut off communications with Washington since the US moved its embassy to Jerusalem – an outcome Trump appears to have expected, telling reporters the day before unveiling the deal that the Palestinians “probably won’t want it initially.” However, he hinted, economic pressure would eventually bring them round.

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