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article imagePalestinians protest against Trump peace plan in many locations

By Ken Hanly     Feb 2, 2020 in Politics
Three days after US President Donald Trump presented the "deal of the century" his proposal to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Palestinians held demonstrations against his plan across the occupied territories on Friday.
The Trump Plan
The Trump long-awaited Palestine peace plan termed "the deal of the century" was 181 pages long. It shows what a future Palestinian state and Israel would appear. Israel would have full control over Jerusalem as well as its holy sites. However, the Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be their capital. Yet in the Trump document Jerusalem remains the undivided capital of Israel.
The US had already recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on December 6, 2017 and moved its embassy there from Tel Aviv. The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed and praised the decision. Most world leaders condemned the decision that changed long-standing US policy. A meeting of the UN Security Council resulted in a motion in which 14 of 15 members condemned the US decision but the US vetoed the resolution.
The Trump plan would also formalise the annexation of much of the West Bank, and maintain military control of what would be a fragmented Palestinian state. The plan would also deny any right of return to refugees who had been forced to flee Palestine in 1948 when Israel was formed. The main architect of the plan was Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law. The plans favors Israeli interests over those of the Palestinians. Not surprisingly Israeli PM Netanyahu has praised the plan and accepted it.
A recent BBC article notes that when the deal was announced the atmosphere at the East Room of the White House was more that of a party than a news conference. The BBC describes the scene: "The host, US President Donald Trump, and the guest of honour, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, backslappingly beamed at each other. The guests drawn from the entourages of the two leaders clapped and whooped.The biggest cheers were for President Trump's reminders of what he has done for Israel. Prime Minister Netanyahu said the day would be remembered in the same breath as Israel's day of independence in 1948. It was, said Mr Netanyahu, one of the most important moments of his life."
Netanyahu's reaction should not be surprising since the deal of the century offers Palestinians very little., beyond a fragmented truncated state with limited sovereignty surrounded by Israeli territory and threading between Jewish settlements on land seized by the Israelis.
Palestinians unite in rejecting the Trump plan
Even before the plan was released rival Palestinian groups came out in unison opposing it. Thousands protested in towns and villages both in the Gaza Strip and towns and villages in the occupied West Bank. This is hardly surprising given that the Palestinians were not in any way involved in forming the plan which is a solution to the situation very much in the favor of Israel and does not meet most Palestinian demands. Not surprisingly, Jared Kushner said the Palestinians were quite foolish to reject the agreement. One could ague that it was quite foolish of the US and Israel to think that Palestinians would ever accept an agreement which ignores most of their key demands and in which they were not involved could ever be accepted by the Palestinians. Perhaps they had no expectations of Palestinian acceptance. There may be attempts to gradually implement the terms of the deal in spite of Palestinian objections. The US for example will no doubt support Israeli moves to further annex Palestinian territory.
The president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, said that he had refused to discuss the plan by phone with Trump or even to receive a copy of it the plan that Trump had offered. Abba said that he did not want Trump to be able to say that he had consulted Abbas on the plan. He reiterated last Tuesday that he completely rejected the plan.
Kushner, who prior to joining the Trump administration had no experience either in policy or politics said: "The Palestinians probably need a little bit of time to take a cold shower and to kind of digest the plan."
Palestinian demonstrations
In at least 12 different locations across the occupied West Bank, thousands of Palestinians staged a "Friday of Rage" in opposition to the Trump plan. Israeli security forces shot live ammunition, rubber-coated steel bullets, sound bombs, and tear gas at demonstrators. The Palestinian Red Crescent claimed that at least 48 Palestinians had been hurt within the West Bank. At least three people were reported to have been detained by Israeli security forces..
In the Ramallah governorate, demonstrators in Bilin village raised Palestinian flags and a map of historic Palestine on it was inscribed "Jerusalem is the capital of the eternal Palestine" and "Palestine is not for sale."
Protests even took place in the sleepy city of Jericho not noted for political activism. In Hebron, Israel fired large quantities of tear gas at demonstrators in the city's Bab al-Zawiya Square.
In the Gaza Strip after Friday prayers, thousands of Palestinians flooded the streets in mass demonstrations all denouncing the Trump deal of the century. On Martyr's Square in Gaza City chants called for Palestinian unity in opposing the deal which they called a conspiracy.
Dozens of Palestinians gathered near the boundary with Israel where they burned tires. The Gaza Ministry of Health reported that at least 12 Palestinians sustained injuries near the barrier with Israel.
More about Palestine, Trump Deal of the Century, Mahmoud abbas
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