PA’s Mahmoud Abbas says Trump plan offers ‘Swiss cheese’ state

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has reiterated the Palestinians’ rejection of United States President Donald Trump’s so-called Middle East plan, telling the United Nations Security Council that the recently unveiled proposal would bring neither peace nor stability and would leave Palestinians with a state resembling “Swiss cheese”.

“I have come to you today to reaffirm the Palestinian position that rejects the Israeli-American proposal,” Abbas said in his address on Tuesday, noting that this stance had also been supported by the Arab League, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the African Union.

Abbas called on Trump to return to negotiations based on existing UN resolutions that call for a two-state solution based on pre-1967 borders, and urged the council to hold an international conference to seek a settlement for the long-running conflict.

Abbas said the rejection of the plan, which Trump unveiled alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu late last month, is the result of its “unilateral steps that violate international legitimacy and the Arab peace initiative”.

“It annuls the legitimacy of the Palestinian rights, our rights to self-determination, freedom, and independence, in our own state,” he said.

“It legitimised what is illegal – settlements and confiscation and annexation of Palestinian land,” he said, referring to Israel’s illegal settlement expansion project in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The plan, the product of three years of effort by Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, envisions a disjointed Palestinian state that turns over key parts of the West Bank to Israel and favours Israel on key contentious issues including borders, the status of Jerusalem and Jewish settlements.

Under the proposal, the Palestinians would have parts of the West Bank and Gaza for their state and a new capital in Abu Dis, a suburb just outside Jerusalem. But the Palestinian Authority wants both occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank to be part of a future state.

The proposal was made without the input of Palestinians, who broke off ties with the Trump administration after it controversially recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in late 2017.

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