The Middle East Peace Plan launched by President Trump on 28 January tramples on Palestinian human rights while treating Palestinians as observers of their destiny.
It talks boldly about their “legitimate desire for self-determination”, but there was no serious dialogue with the Palestinian community when the plan was being drawn up. So it’s not surprising that the Palestinian Authority rejected the plan outright.
Maybe the Trump Administration hasn’t quite grasped that the right to self-determination is an integral part of our basic human rights and fundamental freedoms, or maybe they just doesn’t care.
The UN has after all reaffirmed that Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including East Jerusalem have:
no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-state solution and a just and lasting comprehensive peace
Despite this, the Middle East Peace Plan proposes formalising and extending Israel’s sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and the majority of the settlements in the rest of occupied West Bank.
In stating that Jerusalem is the sovereign capital of Israel and should remain an “undivided city”, the ‘vision’ also ignores the legitimate Palestinian claim for a national capital in East Jerusalem. And its proposals for annexation violate international humanitarian law.
The proposed land swaps to create a State of Palestine could leave tens of thousands of Palestinian citizens of Israel outside Israel, leading to disenfranchisement. And the Trump Administration’s idea of a contiguous Palestinian State includes a tunnel from Gaza to the West Bank.
For millions of Palestinian refugees and their descendants, the Middle East Peace Plan literally slams the door shut in their faces, stating: “There shall be no right of return by, or absorption of, any Palestinian refugee into the State of Israel”.
Yet the right to return is recognised in international law and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Currently, about 5.3 million refugees are registered with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), which the plan proposes closing down.
Any peace plan which calls for violating international law and human rights is not a serious proposal and should not be welcomed as such by the UK government.
Nearly 140 UK parliamentarians have written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson expressing their “grave concern” over the contents of the plan and calling on our government to reconsider its position in welcoming this “unworkable and unfair ‘deal’”.
The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) has also condemned the plan, stating “Peace can only be achieved through negotiations based on international law, not through imposing a completely unacceptable one-sided formula on the Palestinian people. The US proposals will severely damage prospects for a just and peaceful settlement”.
Instead, our government should be calling on the Israeli government to ensure respect for the rights of Palestinians and Israelis based on equality, for an end to the occupation, and respect for the right to return and to self-determination.
To deliver a just and lasting peace, any plan has to be based on respect for international law and human rights and be negotiated by Palestinians and Israelis – as equals.
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