Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas are expected to meet next week to declare their opposition to US President Donald Trump administration's "deal of the century", reported the Haaretz citing the Palestinian delegation to the United Nations as its source.
The meeting is scheduled to take place during the side-lines of the next Security Council session, the Palestinian delegation said yesterday, according to the report. Olmert, however has refused requests for comments regarding the meeting, which is likely to be met with surprise.
A joint press conference is expected to follow the meeting at the UN headquarters in New York.
Riyad Mansour, Palestinian ambassador to the UN, confirmed that such a meeting was being planned with the objective of convening a large press conference to present an international front against Trump's plan.
The deal, announced by President Donald Trump last week, has been rejected by the PA and most of the international community. The American administration and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have since begun a diplomatic offensive to persuade UN member states to get behind the deal.
Saeb Erekat, the secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organisation's Executive Committee, is also reported to have discussed the issue with European diplomats during his meeting with them on Wednesday in Ramallah.
"We are embarking on a major diplomatic campaign and are aware that the United States will try to cause the failure of the proposal or will cast a veto, but that will not deter us," Mansour is reported saying. "We will continue to work on all the diplomatic avenues in order to cause the deal to fail and to emphasise the Palestinian position, which is based on decisions of the international community."
Netanyahu expressed his fury over the planned meeting on Twitter. "We call on Benny Gantz" – Netanyahu's rival in the upcoming March election – "to clarify to his friend and close adviser, Ehud Olmert, that this is not the time to meet [Abbas] in order to work against the 'deal of the century.' At this time, we must stand by President Trump and by Israel's national interest – and not be he who incites and encourages terrorism against our soldiers," said the Israeli prime minister in Hebrew.