Palestinians threaten to quit Oslo peace accord

They slam U.S. President’s middle east plan

Published - January 26, 2020 09:33 pm IST - Ramallah

 Benjamin Netanyahu

Benjamin Netanyahu

Palestinian officials threatened on Sunday to withdraw from key provisions of the Oslo Accords, which define relations with Israel, if U.S. President Donald Trump announces his Middle East peace plan next week.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told AFP that the Palestine Liberation Organisation reserved the right “to withdraw from the interim agreement” if Mr. Trump unveils his plan.

Mr. Trump’s initiative will turn Israel’s “temporary occupation (of Palestinian territory) into a permanent occupation”, Mr. Erekat said.

The Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement, signed in Washington in 1995, sought to put into practice the first Oslo peace deal agreed two years earlier.

Sometimes called Oslo II, the interim agreement set out the scope of Palestinian autonomy in the West Bank and Gaza.

The interim pact was only supposed to last five years while a permanent agreement was finalised but it has tacitly been rolled over for more than two decades.

Mr. Erekat’s comment came as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was headed to Washington, where he will meet Mr. Trump at the White House on Monday and Tuesday to discuss the project.

“It's a great plan. It's a plan that really would work,” Mr. Trump had said.

The Palestinian leadership was not invited and has already rejected Mr. Trump’s initiative amid tense relations with the U.S. President over his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital.

Jerusalem’s fate

The Palestinians see east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state and believe Mr. Trump’s plan buries the two-state solution that has been for decades the cornerstone of international Middle East diplomacy.

World powers have long agreed that Jerusalem’s fate should be settled through negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

“Trump’s plan is the plot of the century to liquidate the Palestinian cause,” the Palestinian Foreign Ministry said.

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