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Palestinians Threaten to Quit Oslo over Deal of Century

Palestinians Threaten to Quit Oslo over Deal of Century

Sunday, 26 January, 2020 - 18:45
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas addresses reporters after a meeting with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel in Brussels, Belgium, February 9, 2017. REUTERS/Yves Herman
Asharq Al-Awsat

Palestinian officials threatened Sunday to withdraw from key provisions of the Oslo Accords, which define relations with Israel, if US President Donald Trump announces the so-called deal of the century next week.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told Agence France Presse that the Palestine Liberation Organization reserved the right "to withdraw from the interim agreement" if Trump unveils his Middle East peace plan.

The Trump initiative will turn Israel's "temporary occupation (of Palestinian territory) into a permanent occupation", Erekat said.

The Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement, signed in Washington in 1995, sought to put into practice the first Oslo peace deal agreed two years earlier.

Sometimes called Oslo II, the interim agreement set out the scope of Palestinian autonomy in the West Bank and Gaza.

The interim pact was only supposed to last five years while a permanent agreement was finalized but it has tacitly been rolled over for more than two decades.

Erekat's comment came as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was headed to Washington.

Trump will hold back-to-back meetings with Netanyahu and Israeli centrist party leader Benny Gantz on Monday where he will likely share some details of his peace plan, a US source familiar with the plan said.

Trump will meet first with Netanyahu and then with Gantz, who is Netanyahu's chief domestic political rival, the source told Reuters, with talks continuing on Tuesday.

The Palestinian leadership was not invited and has already rejected Trump's initiative amid tense relations with the US president over his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's undivided capital.

The Palestinians see east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state and believe Trump's plan buries the two-state solution that has been for decades the cornerstone of international Middle East diplomacy.

World powers have long agreed that Jerusalem's fate should be settled through negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

"Trump's plan is the plot of the century to liquidate the Palestinian cause," the Palestinian foreign ministry said in a statement sent to AFP on Sunday.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniya also said the plan "will not pass" and could lead to renewed Palestinian violence.

"We firmly declare that the 'deal of the century' will not pass. The new plot aimed against Palestine is bound to fail," and could lead the Palestinians to a "new phase in their struggle" against Israel, Haniya said in a statement.

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