Middle East Monitor / February 3, 2020
The ambassadors of three Gulf Arab states who were sent to the White House last week for the unveiling of US President Donald Trump’s “peace plan” – otherwise known as the deal of the century – have been revealed to be against the plan after previously accepting it due to lack of details given to them.
According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, which quoted an unnamed Arab diplomat who informed it of the revelation, the ambassadors of Oman, Bahrain and the UAE were only given limited and minor details of the “peace plan” when the White House called on them to attend the event and sent a document “with generalized details about the initiative, which mostly focused on a Palestinian state with [its] capital in eastern Jerusalem.”
Due to the vagueness of the details, the ambassadors accepted the plan and gave their support to it, but “when they got into the details of the plan they understood there was no true Palestinian state and no capital in East Jerusalem and, more importantly, that there was an attempt to promote a move of dividing Al-Aqsa.”
The plan, which claims to strike a fair deal between Israel and the Palestinians and lay out the path for an independent Palestinian state, caused much controversy over its methods of continuing to side-line the Palestinians, providing more land and resources to the Israeli side, and neglecting the political grievances caused by the Israeli occupation of the West Bank.
Among the terms included in the plan, for example, was the withdrawal of the Palestinian Authority (PA) from the Jordan Valley in the far east of the occupied West Bank – a strategic military point which Israel has long sought to attain, the obligation for Palestinians to accept and recognise illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank, and the obligation for the PA to be demilitarised and disarmed.
Essentially, it only offered the Palestinians a limited self-rule and a mere 70 per cent of the West Bank along with the Gaza Strip. To add to this, the Al-Aqsa compound in Jerusalem, which is the third holiest Islamic site in the world, would remain under Israeli control and jurisdiction, sparking concern that the Israeli authorities could be planning to gradually implement further openness for Jewish settlers to storm and worship at the site.
“These are clauses no Arab or Islamic nation could agree to, so in the end the foreign ministers aligned with the position opposed to the Trump plan,” said the source, culminating in their acceptance of the Arab League’s decision to condemn and refuse Trump’s plan.
The revelation of the conversion of the envoy’s decision comes amid widespread outrage that Arab nations such as Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Oman, and Egypt accepted and backed the plan, with many seeing it as ceding authority to Israel over the Palestinians after decades of outwardly opposing the Jewish State’s occupation. Those who opposed the plan included the PA – which cut all ties with the US and Israel – and Turkey, which vocally condemned both the plan and the Arab nations’ acceptance of it, calling it “treason”.
Following the unveiling of the plan, however, the Arab League decided to reject it on Saturday, followed by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) at its meeting in Jeddah today, after which it issued a statement calling “on all member states not to engage with this plan or to cooperate with the US administration in implementing it in any form.”