PA wants EU to replace US in Middle East

PA representative to the UN begs EU to take reins of diplomacy from the US as the PA pledges to reject Trump peace plan.


Riyad Mansour
Riyad Mansour

The Palestinian Authority asking the European Union to pick up the mantle in defense of the two-state
solution if the upcoming US peace plan ditches Palestinian Arab statehood, their UN envoy said Tuesday.

President Donald Trump's administration is expected to unveil the long-awaited plan possibly as early as next month, but the PA has already rejected it as heavily biased in favor of Israel.

PA representative Riyad Mansour told reporters that he urged European officials during recent meetings in Brussels to seize the initiative and not allow the United States to be the preeminent player in the Middle East peace process.

The PA urged the EU to call for an international conference that would reaffirm the global consensus of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and reject the US approach.

We are engaging them," Mansour told reporters about his meetings with EU officials. "They have to act."

"We would be extremely happy to show that there is more than one player in the field, trying to determine how we move forward."

The PA has also urged European countries - in particular France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Belgium and Luxembourg -- to recognize Palestine as a state.

Mansour said the PA also wanted Russia to step up its Middle East diplomacy and suggested that the United Nations could convene the Middle East peace quartet.

The US peace plan is expected to feature proposals for regional economic development that would include Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon but the PAhas been adamant that it will fail.

Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner is the chief architect of the proposals.

Mansour said the US plan -- which he has not seen -- appears to be aimed at providing a "pretext" for Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's government to annex territory.

Netanyahu promised during the election campaign to apply Israeli sovereignty to Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

Mansour said he was convinced that the PA still enjoyed "massive support in the international arena", but suggested that if diplomacy failed, the battle could then turn to demographics.

"If this is what they want to force on us -- one-state reality -- the Palestinian people will accelerate their reproduction machines and increase the number of Palestinians to face apartheid," he said.