Tuesday, February 25, 2020 | ePaper

Trump to publish delayed ME 'peace plan'

Palestinian PM calls on world powers to boycott initiative

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The Guardian :
Donald Trump will unveil his much-delayed Middle East "peace plan" alongside the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, on Tuesday amid Palestinian protest and a rising global chorus of doubt about its timing and substance.
The US president said on Monday that he would announce the plan at noon Washington time (1700 GMT). "And it's a very big plan," Trump said after private meetings with Netanyahu   and his election opponent, Benny Gantz, in the White House.
The choreography between the US and Israel has been interpreted as a convenient distraction for both Trump, who faces an impeachment trial, and Netanyahu, who faces three criminal corruption indictments and an uncertain election campaign.
Unconfirmed leaks have reported that the measures would be extremely favourable to the country, allowing it to annex much of the Palestinian territories, including Jewish settlements, and all of contested Jerusalem. The Palestinians may be granted some form of self-rule, but under tight restrictions.
Israeli settler leaders who accompanied Netanyahu on his trip appeared to confirm some of those details, complaining that Palestinians should not be allowed any type country, even if it was territorially broken up and without an army or an airport.
"[Netanyahu] tried to sell us on the idea that it wouldn't really be a Palestinian state," said David Elhayani, a prominent settler figurehead, according the the Times of Israel newspaper. He added the plan include large economic incentives to the Palestinians.
The Palestinian prime minister called on Monday for world powers to boycott the initiative. "This is a plan to protect Trump from impeachment and protect Netanyahu from prison. It is not a Middle East peace plan," Mohammad Shtayyeh told a cabinet meeting.
The crisis appeared to bring a rare display of unity from rival Palestinian factions, Hamas in Gaza and Fatah in the occupied West Bank. The two parties, long-time enemies who fought a short civil war in 2007 for control of Gaza, agreed to hold an emergency meeting in Ramallah to discuss a joint response.
Protests were planned in the Palestinian territories for Tuesday and Wednesday, raising the chance of clashes with Israeli troops. The Israeli military said it had reinforced security in Jordan Valley, a large section of the West Bank that the Israel government intends to annex.

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