Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 13 August 2020

Trump's Middle East peace plan may endanger Palestinian children, charity warns

US president unveiled proposals on Palestinians and Israelis on January 28

Palestinian children peep from behind a makeshift door at an empoverished neighbourhood in Gaza City on July 4, 2019. / AFP / MOHAMMED ABED
Palestinian children peep from behind a makeshift door at an empoverished neighbourhood in Gaza City on July 4, 2019. / AFP / MOHAMMED ABED

US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan may start a new wave of instability in the region that could leave Palestinian children vulnerable, a leading charity has warned.

Since the proposal was announced at the end of last month, protests and clashes have erupted across the Palestinian territories and Israel.

Thousands of Arabs in Israel on Saturday protested against the Trump administration's peace plan.

Some parents in West Bank and Gaza are choosing not to send their children to school for fear of violence, Save the Children said on Monday.

More than 40 people have reportedly sustained injuries since the plan was announced at the end of January, mostly from tear gas inhalation.

Flanked by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu in the White House when announcing the peace plan on January 28, Mr Trump said that Jerusalem would remain Israel's "undivided capital".

He said the proposed plan would “more than double” the size of Palestinian territory in occupied East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank, while meeting Israel’s security requirements.

It would create a demilitarised Palestinian state that would exclude Jewish settlements in the West Bank and remain under near-total control of Israeli security.

Palestinians have rejected the plan and they have not engaged with the Trump administration since it declared Jerusalem the Israeli capital in December 2017.

More recently, the Palestinian Authority has severed ties with the US and Israel over the plan.

On Monday, Save the Children expressed “deep concern” for the proposal and the effect it will have on children’s rights, including their rights to life, survival and development, education and protection.

The charity said Mr Trump’s plan went against the interests of all children in the region.

“Palestinian children have told us that they feel like their voices aren’t heard and that they have become invisible in the eyes of all parties, including the international community,” said Jeremy Stoner, Save the Children’s director for the Middle East.

“Generations of children have grown up knowing nothing but conflict and occupation. This plan, if implemented, would deny them the chance of a different future.

"We are thus deeply concerned that this plan does not offer Palestinian or Israeli children the chance of a peaceful future.”

Mr Stoner said the new plan did not respect international law because it encouraged the illegal annexation of the West Bank.

Most of the international community deem the Israeli settlements in the West Bank as illegal.

The charity called for “a viable peace plan, embraced by the parties that provides a framework for the realisation of the fundamental human rights of Palestinians, including children, to participate in political and public life”.

Lulu, 13, a Palestinian, told the charity: “We only want the small hope to live like other children of the world. We used to hope that something would happen, that the situation would change.

“But now we feel the opposite to all that. Like no one around the world looks out for us.

"We appeal to the countries that care about this issue to help us live a day that is happy and joyful, and in safety like the children around the world.”

Updated: February 4, 2020 04:24 AM

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