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AFP
February 2, 2020

Palestinians cut all ties with Israel, US: Abbas

AFP
February 2, 2020

CAIRO: Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday announced a cut of all ties with Israel and the United States, including security cooperation, days after Washington unveiled a controversial Middle East peace plan.

Abbas spoke at an Arab League meeting in Cairo called after US President Donald Trump presented the plan, which is seen as staunchly favouring Israel, but offers Palestinians a pathway to a limited state.

"We are informing you that there will be no relations with you (Israel) and the United States, including on security cooperation," Abbas said.

He added that the US plan was in "violation of the (autonomy) accords" launched in Oslo in 1993 by Israel and the Palestinians.

The Palestinian leader said the decision follows the US and Israel´s "disavowal of signed agreements and international legitimacy".

Israel will have to "bear responsibility as an occupying power" for the Palestinian territories, Abbas said, adding that Palestinians will press ahead with their legitimate struggle using peaceful means.

Under the plan, Israel would retain control of the contested city of al-Quds as its "undivided capital" and annex settlements on Palestinian lands.

Trump said Palestinians would be allowed to declare a capital within annexed east Occupied al-Quds.

Palestinian leaders have rejected the deal, saying it deserved to go in the "dustbin of history".The Palestinian leader said that he'd refused to take US President Donald Trump's phone calls and messages “because I know that he would use that to say he consulted us.”

“I will never accept this solution," Abbas said. “I will not have it recorded in my history that I have sold al-Quds."He said the Palestinians remain committed to ending the Israeli occupation and establishing a state with its capital in east al-Quds.Abbas said that the Palestinians wouldn't accept the US as a sole mediator in any negotiations with Israel. He said they would go to the United Nations Security Council and other world and regional organizations to “explain our position."

The Arab League’s head, Ahmed Aboul-Gheit, said the proposal revealed a “sharp turn” in the long-standing US foreign policy regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.“This turn does not help achieve peace and a just solution,” he declared.Aboul-Gheit said that the Palestinians reject the proposal. He called for the two sides, the Israelis and the Palestinians, to negotiate to reach a “satisfactory solution for both of them.”

President Trump unveiled the long-awaited proposal on Tuesday in Washington. It would allow Israel to annex all its West Bank settlements — which the Palestinians and most of the international community view as illegal — as well as the Jordan Valley, which accounts for roughly a fourth of the West Bank.In return, the Palestinians would be granted statehood in Gaza, scattered chunks of the West Bank and some neighborhoods on the outskirts of Jerusalem, all linked together by a new network of roads, bridges and tunnels.

Israel would control the state’s borders and airspace and maintain overall security authority. Critics of the plan say this would rob Palestinian statehood of any meaning.

The plan would abolish the right of return for Palestinian refugees displaced by the 1948 war and their descendants, a key Palestinian demand. The entire agreement would be contingent on Gaza’s Hamas rulers and other armed groups disarming, something they have always adamantly rejected.Ambassadors from the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Oman attended the Tuesday unveiling in Washington, in a tacit sign of support for the US initiative.

Saudi Arabia and Egypt, Arab states that are close US allies, said they appreciated President Trump’s efforts and called for renewed negotiations without commenting on the plan’s content.Egypt urged in a statement Israelis and Palestinians to “carefully study” the plan.

It said it favors a solution that restores all the “legitimate rights” of the Palestinian people through establishing an “independent and sovereign state on the occupied Palestinian territories.”

The Egyptian statement did not mention the long-held Arab demand of east Jerusalem as a capital to the future Palestinian state, as Cairo usually has its statements related to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.Jordan, meanwhile, warned against any Israeli “annexation of Palestinian lands” and reaffirmed its commitment to the creation of a Palestinian state along the 1967 lines, which would include all the West Bank and Israeli-annexed east al-Quds.Jordan and Egypt are the only two Arab countries that have peace treaties with Israel.