PA Furious Over US’s Gaza-Centric Peace Plan

July 10, 2018

3 min read

The Palestinian Authority is furious over the White ‎House’s intent to push a regional peace plan regardless of ‎PA leader Mahmoud Abbas’ ‎objections, Ramallah sources told Israel Hayom ‎on Sunday.‎

The plan being devised ‎by the United States will ‎focus on resolving the ‎humanitarian crisis in the ‎Gaza Strip prior to ‎dealing with the other cardinal ‎issues involved in the ‎Israeli-Palestinian peace ‎process.‎

Abbas declared that he would not engage with the ‎‎United States on peace talks after Trump ‎recognized Jerusalem ‎as Israel’s capital last year ‎and subsequently ‎relocated the US embassy in ‎Israel from Tel ‎Aviv to Jerusalem—moves the Palestinian leader ‎maintains illustrate Trump’s pro-Israel bias and ‎‎disqualify America from acting as an impartial ‎peace ‎broker between Israel and the Palestinians.‎ ‎

The moderate Arab leaders of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, ‎Egypt and the United Arab ‎Emirates have said that ‎given Abbas’s position, they see no other choice but ‎to go over his head ‎and have decided to back ‎Washington’s decision to ‎present the peace plan to ‎the Palestinian people ‎directly. ‎

According to Arab diplomats familiar with the ‎details of the plan, the American scheme includes a ‎long-term cease-fire agreement between Israel and ‎the Gaza-based terrorist groups. ‎

Once the cease-fire agreement proves lasting, a ‎series of economic programs will be implemented to ‎improve the situation in Gaza, where unemployment ‎nears 50 percent. These projects, as well as a series of ‎infrastructural rehabilitation plans, including the ‎construction of a special Palestinian port in Cyprus, will be sponsored by the international community. ‎

The moderate Arab countries have urged Abbas to ‎engage with the Americans, saying that otherwise, he ‎risks rendering his government irrelevant, but to no ‎avail.‎

‎“Washington and Tel Aviv have decided to take out a ‎hit on Abu Mazen [Abbas] and delegitimize him in the ‎eyes of his own people. This is nothing short of a ‎coup,” a senior Ramallah official told Israel Hayom.‎

Hamas declined to officially comment on the White ‎House’s intention, but one official noted that “Trump and [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu can ‎make all the plans they want for Gaza. It’s nothing ‎but empty words. Only the Palestinian people will ‎decide their future.”‎

Over the past few months, the defense establishment ‎and several international agencies have been working ‎on several plans to alleviate the dire situation in ‎the coastal enclave. ‎

Among the plans currently considered are one devised ‎by Coordinator of Government Activities in the ‎Territories Maj.-Gen. Kamil Abu Rokon, which ‎includes increasing Gaza’s fishing zone and allowing ‎more materials into the enclave; one put together by ‎UN envoy to the Middle East Nickolay Mladenov; and ‎one suggested by the Americans, which includes ‎investments in infrastructure and employment ‎initiatives. ‎

Senior Israeli defense officials told Israel Hayom ‎that any humanitarian aid to Gaza is conditioned on ‎the return of the Israelis being held there. ‎

Hamas is holding the remains of Staff Sgt. Oron ‎Shaul and Lt. Hadar Goldin, killed in the Gaza in ‎‎2014. Ethiopian-Israeli Avera Mengistu and Bedouin ‎Israeli Hisham al-Sayed, both suffering from mental-‎health issues, crossed into Gaza willingly in 2014 ‎and 2015, and were captured by the terrorist group.‎

‎“It’s unthinkable that we keep hearing reports about ‎a humanitarian solution to the crisis in Gaza, but ‎not one word about Hadar and Oron,” said Goldin’s father, ‎Simcha.‎

‎“No one is talking about how the majority of ‎government ministers vowed that ‘no deal would take ‎place until we bring our boys home.’ No one is ‎saying anything about the fact that we have to ‎ensure—from an international standpoint—that the ‎captives are returned before any deal is finalized,” ‎he said. ‎

A statement by the US National Security Council ‎spokesperson said, “The US wants to help the ‎people of Gaza and prefers to work with the PA to ‎help fix the situation there. We continue to consult ‎with key partners and allies about the best way of ‎accomplishing that goal. Nevertheless, we cannot ‎allow the PA to stop our efforts to help the ‎Palestinians in Gaza, or to increase the ‎difficulties in Gaza, and we are monitoring their ‎actions very closely.”

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