US crafting surrender document not a peace plan: Palestine FM
The United States is crafting a surrender document, not a peace plan, and the Palestinians will not accept it regardless of how much money is offered, Palestine's foreign minister said addressing a United Nations meeting.
Riyad al-Maliki was on Thursday expressing the Palestinian stance on the proposed plan by the Trump administration to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
"This is not a peace plan but rather conditions for surrender," al-Maliki said as the US's Middle East peace negotiator, Jason Greenblatt, listened on. "And there is no amount of money that can make it acceptable."
"Some ask us, 'what if they surprise you'; we tell them we would have been more hopeful had they not been deaf to our appeals, blind to Israeli violations and mute, at best, on the fundamentals of peace, when not actively undermining them," he added.
Palestinian officials have ruled out a role for the US in peace talks after the Trump administration unilaterally recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital, upending long-established understandings that underpin negotiations to end the conflict and establish a Palestinian state side-by-side with Israel.
"When the US, prior to announcing its plan, recognises Jerusalem as the so-called 'capital of Israel' and claims they are entitled to take such a sovereign decision that is in blatant violation of international law and UN Security Council resolutions and pretend it has no implications on peace, it is not possible to have faith in such efforts," Maliki said.
'Surprising and unfair'
Greenblatt said it was "surprising and unfair" that Indonesia, Kuwait and South Africa organised the council meeting and condemned Israel's behaviour when it "was not even invited to speak at this session".
He added that it was "inspiring" to see Israel celebrate the 71st anniversary of its independence on Thursday, calling it "a small brave country" that grew to a "thriving, diverse economically vibrant democracy," the only one in the Middle East.
He called the council's "obsessive" focus on Israeli settlements a "farce", saying settlements aren't keeping Israel and the Palestinians from negotiating peace, and said the UNSC should instead condemn Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad for recently firing hundreds of rockets into Israel from Gaza.
Speaking from the UN headquarters in New York, Al Jazeera's diplomatic correspondent James Bays said that the US envoy to the Middle East remained tightlipped about the forthcoming peace plan.
"As he left the meeting, Greenblatt was taking no questions from reporters," he said. "He would give no more detail about the timing of the release of the peace plan other than to say it would come soon."
Jared Kushner, US President Donald Trump's son-in-law and special adviser, has said the peace plan he has led will be released sometime in June after the conclusion of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Last week, Kushner revealed new contours of the upcoming US peace plan, indicating that it will pull back from long-standing mentions of a two-state solution with the Palestinians and accept Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
Greenblatt told the UNSC "the vision for peace that we will soon put forward will be realistic and implementable" and "lay out the core issues of the conflict in enough detail that everyone will be able to imagine what peace could look like".
Al-Maliki, however, said Greenblatt's speech clearly marked his pro-Israel bias.
"It's very clear that his thinking, his mind, is well set to be exclusively anti-Palestinian, anti-peace and anti-logic, and anti-international law," he said.
The Palestinian foreign minister pointed out there are over 600,000 Israeli settlers currently living in the occupied West Bank, insisting Israel is intent on annexing the areas where they live, but maintained the Palestinian Authority is committed to brokering a two-state solution through dialogue.
"Despite this ongoing injustice, we remain committed to peace and the rule of international law. Why? Because it is the only way forward."