The foreign ministers of the Arab League member states meeting in Cairo, Egypt, on Saturday issued a communiqué unanimously rejecting President Donald Trump’s plan to end the conflict between Israel and the so-called “Palestinians” and would not cooperate with the US to carry out the plan, saying it “does not meet the minimum rights and aspirations of Palestinian people.”
Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said “the plan leads to a status that amounts to a one-state situation that comprises two classes of citizens, that is apartheid, in which the Palestinians will be second-class citizens, deprived of the basic rights of citizenship.”
The league ministers were assembled following a request by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to discuss a joint Arab position on the deal of the century. “I will not go down in history as the man who sold our eternal capital,” Abbas told the assembled foreign ministers.
“We still believe in peace, and we want to establish an international multi-lateral mechanism to implement international legitimacy decisions and the Arab Peace Initiative,” Abbas said, and added: “We are looking for a just solution to our issue on the basis of international legitimacy, but we will never accept the United State as the only peace mediator.”
“We do not want anyone to stand against America. We only want support for our position; by accepting what we accept and rejecting what we reject,” Abbas said.
Borrowing a page from Benjamin Netanyahu’s play book, Abbas held up a map that shows the gradual decline of Arab-controlled territory from 1948 to Trump’s Jan. 2020 plan, and said: “I challenge any of you, if you can even see us on the map. If you ask a child in first grade to draw Trump’s map he will never know how to. This is a disgrace.”
Earlier in the week, ambassadors from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Oman attended President Trump’s and Benjamin Netanyahu’s introduction of the plan at the White House, and Saudi Arabia and Egypt expressed their appreciation for Trump’s peace efforts. Even Jordan did not reject the plan outright, but warned against Israeli “annexation of Palestinian lands.”
Now it appears that Abbas has managed to reunite the Arab states against the plan and dash the hopes of its chief architect, Jared Kushner, to reach a modicum of consensus with hard work over the next four years.
It should be noted that the $50 billion in international investments figure which has been bandied around by Trump et al as the amount of financial support to be injected into the region to secure “Palestinian” prosperity, was supposed to come from wealthy donors such as Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states. With the plan taken out and shot in a back alley behind the Arab League building in Cairo, those donors are off the hook.
The question remains at this point: will the White House honor its promise to Netanyahu that should he embrace and support the Trump plan Israel would be permitted to annex about 30% of Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley, or is the Trump administration going Obama on Bibi?
One thing is already clear: no one in Israel is going to annex anything this coming week.