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Palestinians vow to protest at US plan to ‘kill off their cause’

PALESTINIANS are set to protest today over US plans that they say are intended to “bring down” the government and Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas.

“Palestine is not for sale,” warned Palestine Liberation Organisation secretary-general Saeb Erekat yesterday, following news that Washington intends to freeze financial aid to the Palestinian Authority.

There is widespread anger among Palestinians at US President Donald Trump’s so-called “deal of the century,” supposedly aimed at brokering a peace deal between Palestine and Israel.

While details of the plan have not been revealed, it is understood to call for a Palestinian state with provisional borders on half of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and with “humanitarian solutions” proposed to deal with the refugee issue.

The US plans to bypass UNRWA, the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, meaning that money for them would go directly to the host countries.

But Mr Erekat warned that offering humanitarian solutions while ignoring a political solution and dividing the West Bank will only exacerbate intra-Palestinian divisions. He called for unity “to defeat the American-Israeli scheme to liquidate the Palestinian cause.”

Crucially, the plans would leave the Palestinians without Jerusalem, instead envisaging the development of a new capital from the villages and neighbourhoods in the surrounding area.

Mr Erekat warned that the US plans were aimed at confining and limiting the Palestinian state to the Gaza Strip and only parts of the West Bank in a bid to “terminate the Palestinian cause.”

He accused Washington of abandoning “all international norms and traditions” and taking measures, including the controversial decision to relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which have left it unqualified to sponsor any peace negotiations.

Ramallah-based factions called for protests today at an Israeli army checkpoint after midday prayers, following on from those that have been held at the Gaza border every Friday since March 30.

They will denounce the “deal of the century,” which they say ignores the Palestinian demands for a right to return for refugees and a fully sovereign state with Jerusalem as its capital.

The factions branded the plans an “Israeli, American, Saudi and Egyptian conspiracy” whose goal is to avoid diplomatic negotiations over the future of Palestine, calling on Arab countries not to engage with the “poisonous ideas.”

Tensions have been escalating in the occupied territories since the Great Return March protests began in March. 

More than 120 unarmed protesters have been shot dead by Israeli snipers, leading to the UN to initiate war crimes investigations.

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