Hamas to join Palestinian ‘emergency’ meet against Trump plan

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh and Mahmoud Abbas (EPA)

The National  /  January 28, 2020

Palestinians demonstrated against the president’s Israeli-Palestinian peace plan hours before its scheduled release.

Rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah will join forces Tuesday in a rare meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah against US President Donald Trump’s long-awaited Middle East peace plan, officials said.

“We invited the Hamas movement to attend the emergency meeting of the leadership and they will take part in the meeting,” senior Palestinian official Azzam Al Ahmed said.

Hamas official Nasser Al Din Al Shaar confirmed he would attend the meeting, which all Palestinian factions were invited to.

“The meeting will discuss the position that must be taken (against) Trump’s plan,” Mr Shaar said.

The rulers of Gaza have been at odds with president Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement for years, with Hamas representatives rarely taking part in meetings of the West Bank-based Palestinian leadership.

Mr Trump was due to release his plan, years in the works, at the White House later Tuesday together with his close ally Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – but Palestinians, who accuse Trump of pro-Israel bias, were not taking part in the Washington event.

Mr Trump, however, claimed not only that the plan might “have a chance,” but said it could benefit the Palestinians, who he predicted might come around to the idea.

“It’s very good for them, in fact it’s overly good for them,” the US president told reporters on Monday. “We think we will have ultimately the support of the Palestinians.”

Mr Netanyahu will travel to Moscow on Wednesday to present US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan to Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

The Israeli premier will head to Moscow after the plan is released “to convey (the) plan to Putin,” said a spokesperson for the Israeli prime minister.

US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan effectively gives a green light to Israel to establish an apartheid state, the chief Palestinian envoy to Britain said on Tuesday.

“This is a political circus, it’s a sad piece of political theatre,” said Husam Zomlot, who previously served as head of the Palestinian mission to Washington and as strategic adviser to President Mahmoud Abbas.

While the peace proposal to be announced by Mr Trump at noon in Washington (1700 GMT) might refer to the establishment of a Palestinian state, Mr Zomlot said it would have none of the characteristics of a true state and would leave the Israelis able to carve up Palestinian territory into “bantustans”.

“It’s a Mickey Mouse state,” he said.