Erekat: The US will never introduce a peace plan

Chief PA negotiator accuses US of trying to unilaterally change the terms of reference for any future peace proposal.

Elad Benari ,

Saeb Erekat
Saeb Erekat
Miriam Alster/Flash 90

Chief Palestinian Authority (PA) negotiator Saeb Erekat claimed on Saturday that the United States will not present its long-awaited plan for Israeli-PA peace any time soon.

Instead, argued Erekat, the US is trying to unilaterally change the terms of reference for any future proposal.

In an interview with the Reuters news agency, Erekat accused the Trump administration of siding with Israel on the core issues of the decades-old conflict, burying all chances for Middle East peace.

“I don’t think they will ever introduce a plan. The whole world is rejecting their ideas. They are already implementing their plan by changing the terms of reference,” he said.

Erekat said it appeared that the United States has accepted Israel’s positions on other main issues of the conflict, and not just Jerusalem, including the fate of millions of so-called “Palestinian refugees” and Israeli “settlements”.

“They are telling us ‘peace based on the truth,’” Erekat said.

“The Kushner truth and the Netanyahu truth is that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital, no right of return to refugees, settlements are legal, no Palestinian state on 1967 (borders) and Gaza must be separated from the West Bank and this is absolutely unacceptable,” he charged.

“The only thing this administration did since it came to office is just to take Israelis and Palestinians off the path to peace, off the path of the two-state solution,” Erekat added.

The Trump administration’s peace plan, which has come to be known as “the Deal of the Century”, has not yet been unveiled but the PA has already rejected it.

PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas has refused to consider the Trump administration an honest broker for negotiations since Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last December.

Trump’s Middle East envoy, Jason Greenblatt, told Reuters last week that Washington was prepared for Israeli criticism of the plan and that both sides can expect parts they will like and dislike, though he did not provide further details.

Greenblatt also said US negotiators had entered the “pre-launch phase” of the plan, despite the boycott by PA leaders.

Greenblatt told Arutz Sheva recently that “the plan, when released, will reflect ideas that we think are realistic, fair and implementable that will enhance the lives of the Israeli and Palestinian people. We will not discuss any specific ideas or private conversations that may or may not have been had with leaders in the region.”

He also wrote on Twitter last month that while neither side will be fully satisfied with the Trump administration’s peace proposal, it is the only way to achieve true peace.

“No one will be fully pleased with our proposal, but that’s the way it must be if real peace is to be achieved. Peace can only succeed if it is based on reality,” he said.