Mahmoud Abbas threatens to cut security ties with Israel and the US

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Mahmoud Abbas threatens to cut security ties with Israel and the US

Palestinian leader reacts angrily to Donald Trump's proposed peace plan, which includes Israeli control over the Jordan valley and settlements

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has threatened to cut security ties with both Israel and the US as he denounced the White House plan for ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Donald Trump’s plan would grant the Palestinians limited self-rule in parts of the West Bank, while allowing Israel to annex all its settlements there and keep nearly all of east Jerusalem.

Mr Abbas addressed a summit of Arab foreign ministers in Cairo on Saturday which was requested by the Palestinians, who responded angrily to the American proposal.

He used his speech to tell Israel and the US that “there will be no relations with them, including the security ties” following the deal that Palestinians say heavily favours Israel.

There was no immediate comment from US or Israeli officials.

The Palestinian leader said he had refused to take Mr Trump’s phone calls and messages “because I know that he would use that to say he consulted us”.

He added: “I will never accept this solution. I will not have it recorded in my history that I have sold Jerusalem.”

He said the Palestinians remain committed to ending the Israeli occupation and establishing a state with its capital in east Jerusalem.

Mr Abbas also said the Palestinians will not accept the US as sole mediator in any negotiations with Israel.

He said they will go to the United Nations Security Council and other world and regional organisations 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.

Mr Aboul-Gheit said the Palestinians reject the proposal and called for the two sides to negotiate to reach a “satisfactory solution for both of them”.

Mr Trump unveiled the long-awaited proposal in Washington on Tuesday. It would allowIsrael 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 quarter of the West Bank.

In return, the Palestinians would be granted statehood in Gaza, scattered chunks of the West Bank and some neighbourhoods 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 proposals 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 unveiling in Washington on Tuesday, 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 Israelis and Palestinians to “carefully study” the plan, saying it favours 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 Jerusalem.

Jordan and Egypt are the only two Arab countries that have peace treaties with Israel.

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