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Erekat attacks Kushner: 'Kushner's plan is not peace, but legitimises settlement, annexation and apartheid'

Palestine Liberation Organization's Secretary General Saeb Erekat speaks to journalists during a press conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah on 11 September 2018 [AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images]
The Secretary-General of the PLO Executive Committee, Saeb Erekat, 8 November 2019 [AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images]

Saeb Erekat, secretary of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), attacked Jared Kushner, special advisor to US President Donald Trump, for his recent statements regarding the deal of the century and promising to proceed with its implementation.

Erekat conveyed that many Arab countries objected to the actions of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) at the meeting of foreign affairs ministers, and that Abu Dhabi's supporters will be known when they participate in the ceremony of the signing of the agreement in Washington.

"Kushner claims that President Trump's plan was put forward to preserve the two-state principle," according to Erekat, considering Kushner's statements as "disregarding humanity".

He described the plan as: "Adopting Israeli colonial settlement and apartheid, and proposing annexation of 33 per cent of the West Bank and East Jerusalem." Erekat stressed that the goal of Kushner's plan was not peace, but rather: "Legitimising settlement, annexation and apartheid."

READ: Why doesn't 'normalisation' really mean peace?

Kushner claimed that the US administration's plan is an attempt to "save the two-state solution" because it prevents Israel from continuing to expand its presence in the West Bank.

He added: "What we did with our plan is that we tried to save the two-state solution because if we continued with the current situation, at the end of the day, Israel would have devoured all the land in the West Bank."

He explained that, at the present time, there is land that could create a Palestinian state. It is possible to connect them, but the land on which the Israeli settlers reside is land controlled by Israel, and the possibility that they would abandon it are unlikely. He also insisted that any plan that ignores this reality will be doomed to fail. Addressing the Palestinians, Kushner said that the US administration: "Will not run after them. "

In the same context, Erekat revealed that during the Arab foreign ministers' conference, some Arab countries condemned what the UAE had done in terms of normalisation with the occupation. He added: "But the rejection of some Arab countries of this clause does not mean that all Arab countries have agreed to what the UAE is doing. We will know that very well when we see who will attend the signing of the UAE-Israeli peace treaty in the White House. "

Erekat assured that all the terms of the Palestinian project had been adopted in the Arab League, including the rejection of the deal of the century and the adoption of President Mahmoud Abbas's plan in the Security Council.

READ: Saudi King tells Trump that kingdom is eager to achieve fair solution to Palestinian issue

It is expected that the final peace agreement will be signed within days at the White House, in the presence of the leaders of the Emirates and Israel.

Erekat emphasised in radio statements that the actions of the UAE were "not a simple thing", adding: "It is a clear departure from the Arab initiative. The normalisation of the UAE is a strong blow. We cannot deny that Kushner was able to achieve a breakthrough and he is right that this is a change in the Middle East."

Erekat insisted: "But Kushner is fully aware that the deal of the century, occupation and settlement will end, and the one with which peace must be concluded is the Palestinian people, on the basis of ending the occupation and embodying the independence of the State of Palestine on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, and resolving all final status issues based on international law and international legitimacy. There will be no security, peace nor stability in the region as long as the Israeli occupation continues."

He continued: "We have been suffering for decades, and we will not compromise our rights, and everyone should remember that the PLO's acceptance of the principle of the two-state solution on the 1967 borders was a response to the international consensus and international legitimacy."

Kushner welcomed the Arab League's abrogation of the decision to condemn normalisation and the agreement that the UAE concluded with Israel.

READ: Palestinians need to discard and disregard US and international misrepresentations

Kushner added: "The Arab League's failure to condemn the normalisation agreement between the UAE and Israel is evidence of an important shift in the Middle East," considering that the patience of the countries supporting the Palestinians: "Has run out and that they are seeking normalisation with Israel in a way that serves their interests. "

The Palestinian leadership confirmed that the UAE agreement with Israel represented a "stab in the backs" of the Palestinians, describing it as a "hostile and treacherous" agreement.

At the internal level, Erekat expressed: "There is a unified Palestinian position, and President Mahmoud Abbas gave full and clear authorisation to all factions on any outputs of the committees that were formed at the meeting of the general-secretaries of the PLO factions."

The meeting of the general-secretaries was held between Ramallah and Beirut, during which it was agreed to form a committee in order to develop a plan to end the division and implement national reconciliation, in order to confront the plans that plague the Palestinian cause.

Ismail Haniyeh, head of the political bureau of Hamas, condemned the Arab League's rejection of the Palestinian draft resolution rejecting the Emirati normalisation agreement with the occupation.

He asserted: "The Arab League's dropping of the Palestinian draft resolution is in the interest of the Zionist enemy, and normalisation is a blatant assault on the nation and its rights," warning of the "dangers of normalisation that aims to bring the nation to its knees. "

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