Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 June 2019

We all have a responsibility for Palestine's future

The Palestinian people deserve a peace plan based upon the principles of independence, sovereignty, freedom and justice

A demonstrator holds a Palestinian flag during a protest in support of the Palestinian cause, in Rome. AFP
A demonstrator holds a Palestinian flag during a protest in support of the Palestinian cause, in Rome. AFP

On Friday, the Palestinian foreign minister Riyad Al Maliki made a last-minute plea to US President Donald Trump to reconsider the so-called Middle East peace plan devised by his son-in-law Jared Kushner. Speaking at Chatham House in London, Mr Al Maliki urged European countries to support Palestinians in their efforts to alter the terms of the deal. He also revealed that at a secret retreat, held in Dublin in February, European and Arab envoys had drawn up a letter to the US president. The message, which was sent by the Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney, aimed to persuade the US to review its current approach, which, according to Mr Al Maliki, promises to give a “stamp of approval to Israel’s colonial policies”.

Reportedly, the content of Mr Trump’s much-touted “deal of the century” will be revealed next month. Given the president’s close ties to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the US administration’s record of pro-Israel policies, there is little chance that the plan will bring peace to the region. In the past year-and-a-half, Mr Trump has taken a series of unilateral decisions that have been detrimental to Palestinians. These include the decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, declaring the divided city Israel’s capital, slashing hundreds of millions of dollars in funds to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, and recognising the occupied Golan Heights as Israeli. After narrowly winning an election in April, Mr Netanyahu presides over the most right-wing government in Israeli history. Mr Trump’s plan is expected to legitimise further Israel’s aggressive settlement of Palestinian land and its brutal oppression of the Palestinian people. Many believe it will be the final nail in the coffin of Palestinian statehood – a prospect that threatens to destabilise the entire region.

Palestinians are vehemently against the deal. "The world left the steering wheel in the hands of a reckless driver,” said Mr Al Maliki. “We disregard the view that we should wait until the reckless driver goes over the cliff or runs over the Palestinian people before doing something about it.” As it is their future on the line, the demands of Palestinians must be heard, considered and acted upon. During his address, Mr Al Maliki said that a deal that ignores independence, sovereignty, freedom and justice will never be acceptable to Palestinians. These four basic rights have to form the cornerstones of any political solution. Palestinians have fought for their right to exist for the past 80 years. Now, as they face such seemingly unassailable forces, it is clear that the fight for justice is not, in Mr Al Maliki’s words, their “responsibility alone”.

Updated: May 18, 2019 07:17 PM

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