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Trump's peace plan 'dead upon arrival', says Palestinian envoy

Palestinian UN ambassador Riyad Mansour [Getty]

Date of publication: 25 July, 2018

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Riyad Mansour said the US "lost the qualification to be the only party to supervise the political process" after it recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
US President Donald Trump's so-called "deal of the century" for Middle East peace is "dead upon arrival", the Palestinian envoy to the UN said on Tuesday.

Riyad Mansour told reporters on Tuesday that after President Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in December, the United States "lost the qualification to be the only party to supervise the political process".

The Trump administration has not yet set a date for the plan's reveal, with the official stating last month it wants to launch the proposal "when the circumstances are right".

Drawn up by Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner along with Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt, the roadmap is likely to be hugely favourable to Israel.

Yet any Palestinian willingness to even consider the plan would require conditions to improve and anger to subside considerably in the coming weeks, an unlikely scenario after Trump's Jerusalem embassy move and Israel's massacre of dozens of Palestinian protesters.

Greenblatt and Kushner told the Arabic language al-Quds newspaper last month that they will present it soon, with or without input from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Mansour said the US is "eager" for Palestinian engagement on the plan but "we are not going to engage".

Abbas and many other Palestinian officials "have indicated we will not engage in something that was dead upon arrival before even we received it," he said.

"It seems to me that people in Washington, DC - they still think that 'we are the only game in town. It's us or nothing,'" Mansour said. "We are not a player to accommodate their desires."

Mansour said the Palestinians will insist on "a collective process" involving many countries to try to end the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as Abbas proposed in an address to the Security Council in February.

Within a collective approach, he said, the United States can "play a role, but they cannot be the only one to supervise this process" following the "illegal and provocative" recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

The Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of their independent state and say its status is a final issue yet to be decided, a view backed by the vast majority of UN member states.

Mansour also said the Palestinians don't want to go to negotiations where the US says Jerusalem, refugees, and a two-state solution "are off the table" and "settlements are maybe not on the table, maybe under the table."

"If you come up with this attitude, you are not opening doors to peace, you are opening doors for the opposite - perpetuation of this conflict," he said.

He accused the Trump administration of being pro-Israel, saying US Ambassador Nikki Haley "is becoming more Israeli than the Israelis themselves".

Mansour cited several examples including drastic US cuts in funding for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees known as UNRWA, this year slicing $300m from its budget.

Haley made no mention of the cuts in her speech to the UN Security Council on Tuesday but accused Arab and Islamic nations who made "speeches thousands of miles away" in support of the Palestinians but not opening their wallets.

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