Senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat has denounced the Trump administration's approach to the peace process, saying that the White House seeks a "Palestinian declaration of surrender".
Writing in an op-ed for the New York Times in his capacity as the secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, Erekat said that what has been revealed thus far about the Trump administration has avoided "the real issues" of "Israeli occupation" and Palestinian rights.
"Unless the Trump administration's plan addresses these issues head-on, it is a non-starter for the Palestinians," Erekat wrote, adding: "It should be for the rest of the world, as well."
Addressing the forthcoming Bahrain-hosted conference on economic investment in the occupied Palestinian territory, the PLO official declared: "Let us be clear: There will be no economic prosperity in Palestine without the end of the occupation."
Erekat affirmed that "the Palestinian leadership was not consulted by any party on this meeting."
He added that "the 'concessions' that the Trump administration will ask of Israel are marginal", and "do not require Israel to end its military control over the land and people of Palestine."
What the Trump administration is seeking is not a peace agreement but a Palestinian declaration of surrender
the veteran negotiator wrote.
"Economic growth can never be a substitute for the right to live in dignity, free from military occupation and oppression, in our homeland. The main obstacle to Palestinian economic growth is clear: the occupation," said Erekat.
The PLO official ended his op-ed by urging "the international community, including Israel's primary trading partner, the European Union" to "take immediate action", namely, "recognising the state of Palestine and holding Israel accountable for its violations of international law".
"The alternative would be to perpetuate Israel's occupation and apartheid, condemning the Middle East to more decades of instability and bloodshed," Erekat concluded.