Palestine warns Israel, US over 'deal of century'

Palestine warns Israel, US over 'deal of century'

JERUSALEM - Anadolu Agency
Palestine warns Israel, US over deal of century

Palestine's leadership vowed on Jan. 23 not to recognize any Middle East peace plan it had previously rejected, warning the U.S. and Israel against announcing such a deal.

Nabil Abu Rudeinah, the spokesperson of the Palestinian Presidency, said in a statement that the Palestinian leadership will reject any steps by the U.S. that would breach international law, the official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.

“If this deal is announced according to these rejected formulas, the leadership will announce a series of measures in which we will safeguard our legitimate rights and we will demand Israel to assume its full responsibilities as an occupying power,” Rudeinah said.

He warned Israel and the U.S. administration against crossing any red lines.

He also reiterated the call for ending the Israeli occupation of the State of Palestine since 1967.

Rudeinah said an independent Palestinian state should be established and East Jerusalem should be recognized as its capital.

Earlier Thursday, the White House said U.S. President Donald Trump had invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his chief political rival Benny Gantz to visit Washington on Tuesday amid reports that Trump's Middle East peace plan, dubbed "the Deal of the Century," would soon be revealed.

Trump said he believed the peace plan could work and he had spoken to the Palestinians "briefly."

Israel's Channel 12 and 13 said Trump's plan would recognize Israeli sovereignty over virtually all settlements in the occupied West Bank, which are illegal under international law.

That would effectively move the U.S.-recognized Israeli border further east into Palestinian territory and Israeli sovereignty would be recognized over the whole of Jerusalem, which Palestinians seek as the capital of their future state.

The plan would also recognize a demilitarized Palestinian state at a later time reportedly, but Palestinian officials are highly unlikely to accept the plan, which Channel 12 said will also demand Hamas' disarmament and Palestinian recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

If the plan is revealed next week, it would come with Trump in the midst of his Senate impeachment trial and as the Israeli Knesset votes on possible immunity for Netanyahu in three graft cases.

Israeli forces storm Al-Aqsa Mosque

Meanwhile,  Israeli police on Jan. 24 stormed Jerusalem's flashpoint Al-Aqsa complex on Friday, attempting to clear its grounds after the morning prayer and arresting at least 13, according to eyewitnesses.

Hundreds of Palestinians were performing morning prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, in response to the social media Dawn of Hope campaign to show their devotion to the mosque and their refusal to accept Israeli incursions.

Tel Aviv imposes tight measure in many neighborhoods of East Jerusalem, where Al-Aqsa is located, by erecting numerous checkpoints, storming local shops and searching civilian vehicles.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Middle East war.

In a move never recognized by the international community, Israel annexed the entire city in 1980, claiming it as the self-proclaimed Jewish state's "eternal and undivided" capital.

Sacred to Muslims, Christians and Jews, Jerusalem is home to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which for Muslims represents the world's third holiest site. Jews refer to the area as the Temple Mount, claiming it was the site of two prominent Jewish temples in ancient times.

The complex also includes Church of the Holy Sepulchre, one of the most sacred Christian sites in the world.