The Arab League is holding an emergency meeting in Egypt’s capital, Cairo, to discuss US President Donald Trump’s plan for the Middle East that was unveiled last week.
The meeting on Saturday was requested by Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority (PA), who asked Arab nations to take a clear stance against Trump’s so-called “deal of the century”.
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The plan presented on Tuesday was negotiated with Israel and had no input from Palestinians, who had cut off all ties with the Trump administration after its 2017 decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. It envisions the Israeli annexation of large swathes of the occupied West Bank, including illegal settlements and the Jordan Valley, giving Israel a permanent eastern border along the Jordan River.
“They told me Trump wants to send me the deal of the century to read, I said I would not,” Abbas told the meeting of Arab League foreign ministers on Saturday.
“Trump asked that I speak to him over the phone, so I said ‘no’, and that he wants to send me a letter, so I refused to receive it.”
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas arrives for the emergency meeting in Cairo, Egypt [Mohamed Abd el-Ghany/Reuters]
Abbas has said the Palestinians remain committed to ending the Israeli occupation and establishing a state with its capital in East Jerusalem.
Trump’s plan also proposes making Abu Dis, just outside Jerusalem, the capital of a future Palestinian state, which was also instantly rejected by Palestinians.
The Arab League’s head, Ahmed Aboul-Gheit, said on Wednesday that an initial study of the plan’s political framework showed that it “ignored legitimate Palestinian rights in the territories”.
He said the Palestinian response would be key in shaping a “collective Arab position” on the plan, which he noted was a “non-binding US vision”.
Majdi al-Khaldi, a diplomatic adviser to Abbas, said the meeting in Cairo aims at issuing a “clear declaration” rejecting Trump’s plan.
Al-Khaldi, who accompanies Abbas on his trips to world capitals, said the Palestinian leader would meet Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to discuss measures to “protect the Palestinian people’s rights”.