Thu, Feb 13, 2020 - Page 7 News List

Abbas warns UN about US’ ‘Swiss cheese’ peace deal


A Palestinian demonstrator hits a poster depicting US President Donald Trump with a shoe at a rally in support of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and against Trump’s Middle East peace plan, in Ramallah, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank ,on Tuesday.

Photo: Reuters

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday urged the UN Security Council to reject US President Donald Trump’s Middle East plan, saying it would splinter Palestinian lands and never bring lasting peace.

Brandishing a large map of a future Palestine as laid out by Trump, Abbas denounced it as a “Swiss cheese” deal that would give the Palestinians only a “fragmented state” without control of their air space, territorial waters or East Jerusalem.

“Who among you would accept such a state?” Abbas asked, as he warned that Israel would create an “apartheid” situation if it moves ahead with annexation.

“I would like to say to Mr Donald Trump that his plan cannot achieve peace and security, as it cancels international legitimacy,” Abbas said.

“If you impose peace, it will not last, it cannot last,” he said.

“This deal is not an international partnership. This proposal was from one state, supported by another state to be imposed,” he added.

The Palestinians have sought to rally international support against the plan, which Trump unveiled alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Jan. 28.

However, in a setback, the Palestinians dropped plans for a vote on a resolution that would denounce the proposal.

Diplomats said that the US has put heavy pressure, including threats of financial repercussions, on Security Council members and that even some European nations were hesitant.

A senior US official hailed the development, saying: “By not putting forward a polarizing resolution, the United Nations Security Council demonstrated that the old way of doing things is over.”

The veteran 84-year-old leader, long considered a moderate among the Palestinians, rejected the use of violence, but said that street protests showed the deep opposition to Israeli occupation.

“Our entire people is saying: ‘No, no, no’ to this deal,” Abbas said.

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon replied that Abbas stood in the way of a solution.

“Only when he steps down can Israel and the Palestinians move forward,” Danon said.

“He is trying to blame the lack of progress on Israel. Complaining instead of leading is not leadership,” Danon said, calling on the Palestinians to find a “realistic solution.”

However, Abbas won a show of support as he met in New York with Netanyahu’s predecessor, Ehud Olmert, who said that any negotiations needed to involve the Palestinian leader.

“He is a man of peace, he is opposed to terror, and therefore he is the only partner that we can deal with,” Olmert, a centrist who served as prime minister from 2006 to 2009, told reporters with Abbas at his side.

Whenever negotiations start, “the partner of Israel to these negotiations will be Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority,” Olmert said.

Danon lashed out at Olmert for going ahead with the meeting.

“He is endorsing diplomatic terrorism against Israel. It is shameful,” Danon said.

The Palestinians previously won support from the Arab League, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the African Union, which have all rejected Trump’s plan.

On Tuesday, the four EU members of the Security Council — France, Germany, Belgium and Estonia — as well as Poland, which left the council at the end of last year, jointly said that any Middle East solution needs to be based on lines before 1967, when Israel seized the West Bank in the Six-Day War.

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