“The European Union will study and assess the proposals put forward,” says EU foreign policy chief.
President Donald Trump’s Israeli-Palestinian peace plan received a mixed response from the European leaders. While the European Union, France, and Germany reacted with caution to the U.S. initiative, it was received positively by the leaders of the United Kingdom and Austria.
President Trump unveiled a detailed peace plan on Tuesday in the presence of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas had refused to be part of the deal. The U.S. proposal doubles the currently controlled territory by the Palestinians and offers a multi-billion investment plan, which would create millions of jobs for them.
“The European Union will study and assess the proposals put forward,” the EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a statement. Borrell, however, added several caveats for the deal to be acceptable to the EU. The U.S. proposal had to be in line with “the EU’s established position and its firm and united commitment to a negotiated and viable two-state solution that takes into account the legitimate aspirations of both the Palestinians and the Israelis, respecting all relevant UN resolutions and internationally agreed parameters,” he added.
German state broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas’s response echoing the EU position:
As Europe began to react to the announcement, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said in a statement that Germany welcomed “every impulse to get the long-stalled Middle East peace process back up and running” and would pay close attention to the detail of the plan. However, he added that “only a negotiated two-state solution that is acceptable to both parties can lead to a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians.”
Austria’s Prime Minister Sebastian Kurz welcomed the peace infinitive without ifs and buts:
I welcome the release of the #US plan which hopefully brings new momentum to the #MEPP having been in a deadlock for far too long. We call on the parties to start negotiations on the basis of this plan under #US leadership with a view to achieving a two-state-solution.
— Sebastian Kurz (@sebastiankurz) January 28, 2020
France also stressed on a two-state solution while welcoming the deal. “France welcomes President Trump’s efforts and will study closely the peace program he has presented,” French foreign ministry said a statement.
President Trump revealed on Tuesday that UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson had called him to offer his support for the peace plan.
“So many other countries are willing, ready and able to work with us. I’ve spoken to many of them. I cannot believe the amount of support this morning has,” President Trump said. “I have been called by leaders – Boris called – and they’re all saying whatever we can do to help, we all want to see it happen.”
The deal also found surprising backers in the Middle East, with Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates coming out in support. Turkey and Iran were among the leading opponents of the deal among the Muslim countries.
UPDATED reactions to Trump’s Palestine plan so far:
• Saudi Arabia
• Palestinian Authority
— Hen Mazzig (@HenMazzig) January 29, 2020
The left-wing European media was alarmed by the wide-spread support received by the Trump peace plan in the Arab world.
The British newspaper Guardian worries at the prospect of Arab countries abandoning the Palestinian “cause that had galvanised the region for so long.” The newspaper noted the waning support for the “Palestinian cause” across the Middle East:
Riyadh [Saudi Arabia], which once drew much of its regional clout from defending the Palestinians, was mute as the hour drew near. So too, Abu Dhabi [UAE], which shares its larger neighbour’s focus on Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood, and rails at the latter’s links to the Palestinian group Hamas. In Cairo, a bedrock of the earlier years of Palestinian struggles, there was little talk of a plan set to shred the scope of deals put to earlier leaders. (…)
There will be pro forma protests from the countries that have underwritten such a profound historical shift, and claims that a two-state solution remains essential.
The German media made much of Palestinians leader Abbas’s absence at the unveiling of the peace deal.
The German weekly Der Spiegel ran an editorial labeling President Trump’s initiative a “rotten peace.” The magazine accused the U.S. President of using to deal to divert attention from the impeachment proceeding in the senate. “He probably hope that the peace plan will push aside the allegation him for at least a day,” Der Spiegel commented.
President Trump’s peace plan will “leave behind more strife than peace,” complained German weekly Der Zeit. Calling the peace plan “complete nonsense,” the weekly cynically added: “He isn’t seeking support abroad. Trump is merely trying to woo voters in the United State [ahead of the 2020 presidential election].”
Much like the European liberal media, Palestinians reacted to the generous offer of peace with rage and anger. “Palestinians angrily reject Trump Mideast peace plan,” the Associated Press confirmed.
“After the nonsense that we heard today we say a thousand no’s to the Deal of The Century,” Palestinian President Abbas said. Thousands protested in Hamas-held Gaza, hours before the details of the deal were even made public. Rioting took place in Jerusalem as well, as angry rioters took to streets after Friday’s Islamic prayers.
While unveiling the deal, President Trump urged the Palestinians leaders to think about the fate of their people.
“Palestinians are in poverty and violence, exploited by those seeking to use them as pawns to advance terrorism and extremism, he said. “They deserve a far better life.”
After decades of misery created by their rejectionism, it’s time for Palestinians to ponder on those words.
[Cover image via YouTube] [Excerpts from German news outlets translated by the author]DONATE
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