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A Range of Reactions, Bitter to Enthused, After WH Rolls Out Mideast Peace Plan

A Range of Reactions, Bitter to Enthused, After WH Rolls Out Mideast Peace Plan
President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu take part in an announcement of Trump's Middle East peace plan in the East Room of the White House on Tuesday. (Getty Images)

Tuesday, 28 January 2020 03:40 PM

Around the world, from the Mideast to Europe, President Donald Trump's unveiling of an ambitious peace plan for the roiled region inspired mixed responses on Tuesday, with some greeting it cautiously, others optimistically, and still others with utter disdain.

Israel’s liberal parties are coming out vocally against the Trump proposal and calls by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to annex West Bank land.

Amir Peretz, leader of Israel’s Labor Party, says Israel needs “a diplomatic compass” and a “renewal of the peace process in the way of Rabin,” the country’s assassinated prime minister who spearheaded the Oslo Accords in the 1990s.

Peretz cautioned that the Trump peace plan “cannot be executed unilaterally.”

“We must thank President Trump for his honest intentions, and after the elections start direct negotiations with states in the region and the Palestinian Authority,” Peretz said.

Meretz party leader Nitzan Horowitz said that as an interim prime minister under indictment, “Netanyahu doesn’t have a mandate to make any decision, and certainly not to annex significant parts of the territories.”

“There is and won’t be an alternative to direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority on the basis of the two-state solution, a key principle that appears in the Trump plan, and avoidance of any unilateral steps,” he said.

Israel’s Blue and White party, the largest in the Knesset and the chief opposition to Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud, has thrown its support behind the Trump peace plan.

Elsewhere, Turkey has rejected the U.S. peace plan for the Israelis and Palestinians, describing it as "an annexation plan that aims to kill the two-state solution and usurp Palestinian lands."

A Turkish Foreign Ministry statement also rejected Trump's declaration to keep Jerusalem as Israel's undivided capital, saying "Jerusalem is our red line,"

"The United States' so-called peace plan was still-born," the ministry said in a statement. "The Palestinian people and their lands cannot be bought with money."

The ministry said, “we will not support any plan that is not accepted by Palestine Peace cannot come to the Middle East without an end to the occupation.”

Protests were planned near the U.S. Embassy and Consulate in Ankara and Istanbul.

As the world reacted to the bold proposal, Germany’s foreign minister greeted it cautiously, saying it raises questions that need to be addressed.

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said in a statement Tuesday that “only a negotiated two-state solution that is acceptable to both parties can lead to lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians.” He added that “on that basis, every impetus laid out in such a way as to set the long-stalled Middle East peace process in motion again is to be welcomed.”

Maas said the U.S. proposal “raises questions” that Germany will discuss with its European partners. Those, he said, include the involvement of the two sides in a negotiating process and “its relationship to recognized international parameters and legal positions.”

As had been widely anticipated, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas resoundingly rejected the U.S. plan on Tuesday.

Hezbollah has denounced what it labeled as “the deal of shame” announced by “the savage Trump administration.”

In a statement issued in Beirut Tuesday, the Iranian-backed militant group described the plan as dangerous, adding that it will have very negative repercussions on the future of the region and its people.

It said the U.S. has capped decades of blind support for Israel, its occupation and aggression against Arabs by trying to eliminate the historical and legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.

“This deal would not have taken place had it not been for the complicity and betrayal of a number of Arab regimes, secretly and publicly involved in this conspiracy, “ it added, in a reference to Gulf Arab countries.

The statement said the deal announced in Washington Tuesday “confirms that resistance is the only option” to liberate occupied land.

Israel’s Blue and White party, the largest in the Knesset and the chief opposition to Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud, is throwing its support behind the Trump peace plan.

The U.S. Embassy in Israel issued a warning to American citizens following Trump’s peace plan announcement.

The embassy statement prohibits U.S. government employees and their families from travel in most of Jerusalem’s Old City, the West Bank and Gaza Strip in light of “widespread calls for demonstrations” by Palestinians.

“United States citizens should avoid areas where crowds have gathered and where there is increased police and/or military presence,” the embassy statement said.

The new peace plan more than doubles the territory currently under Palestinian control, although it also recognizes Israeli sovereignty over major settlement blocs in the West Bank, something to which the Palestinians were sure to reject. The Palestinians have openly accused Trump of being biased in favor of Israel as he has adopted policies that bolster Israel at their expense.

The plan does call for a four-year freeze in new Israeli settlement construction, during which time details of a comprehensive agreement would be negotiated. However, it was not immediately clear if the freeze could be extended if a final deal is not concluded in the four years.

The 50-page political outline goes further in concessions to the Palestinians than many analysts had believed was likely. However, it would require them to accept conditions they have been previously unwilling to consider, such as accepting West Bank settlements. It builds on a 30-page economic plan for the West Bank and Gaza that was unveiled last June and which the Palestinians have also rejected,

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Around the world, from the Mideast to Europe, President Donald Trump's unveiling of an ambitious peace plan for the roiled region inspired mixed responses on Tuesday, with some greeting it cautiously, others optimistically, and still others with utter disdain. Israel's...
palestinians, israel, peace, trump
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2020-40-28
Tuesday, 28 January 2020 03:40 PM
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