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MIDDLE EAST

As ‘Deal of Century Nears,’ Trump Envoy Slams Indonesian Defense of Palestine

Israel-Palestine wall
Israel-Palestine wall (Photo: Albert Dezetter from Pixabay)

“Let’s stop pretending that settlements are what is keeping the sides from a negotiated peaceful solution. This farce and obsessive focus on one aspect of this complicated conflict helps no one.”

Last Thursday, Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi led a UNSC meeting in an “Arria Formula” to discuss Palestine issues related to Israel’s illegal settlements at the U.N. headquarters in New York.

Indonesia, which is a non-permanent member of the UNSC and is serving as the UNSC presidency for the month of May, organized the session with Kuwait and South Africa. Palestine’s Foreign Minister, Riyad al-Maliki, attended the meeting.

The Arria Formula is a UNSC informal meeting format to discuss complicated issues that need a breakthrough by presenting experts and sources through interactive dialogue.

The special meeting on Palestine is one of Indonesia’s main priorities while serving as the UNSC president.

Marsudi delivered three key points at the meeting. First, Marsudi stated that the development of Israeli settlements is a major obstacle to peace realization. Second, Israeli settlements are the primary source of human rights violations against Palestinians. Third, international communities must try to stop the construction of illegal Israeli settlements. The female diplomat also suggested there be a special day to discuss the settlement issue.

She also stated in her opening speech that Illegal Jewish settlements had increased from 110,000 in 1993 to 620,000 in 2017.

“Therefore, there should be a big pressure from international communities to stop illegal settlement of Israel in Palestine. One of the efforts that can be considered is by determining the International Solidarity Day for Illegal Settlement’s Victims,” stated the former Indonesian ambassador to Holland.

US Calls the Session ‘Tiring’

President Trump’s Middle East envoy, Jason Greenblatt, lambasted the UNSC for repeating an exhausting talk that condemned Israeli settlements, calling the session “unfair.”

Greenblatt rebutted opinions that the expansion of the Jewish settlement is a hindrance to the Israel-Palestine peace and is illegal under international laws.

“Let’s stop pretending that settlements are what is keeping the sides from a negotiated peaceful solution. This farce and obsessive focus on one aspect of this complicated conflict helps no one,” said Greenblatt, who is partnering with Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner in drafting proposals for an Israel-Palestine deal, which is set to be announced in June, after the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan.

The envoy blasted the U.N. for issuing 700 resolutions condemning Israel, but not for taking action against the 700 rockets Hamas launched into Israel last week during a weekend of violence between the two sides.

Peace Plan Should Be More Effective Than UNSC Resolutions

With Washington planning to release its new Middle East peace plan – a deal the Trump administration calls “the deal of the century” – in June, Indonesia is stressing that the content of the agreement should not violate international resolutions the UNSC has already issued.

In early May, Multilateral Cooperation Director General at the Foreign Ministry of Indonesia, Febrian Alphyanto Ruddyard, told reporters that the ministry had informed the U.S. of Indonesia’s such expectations for the upcoming peace deal.

Ruddyard added that Trump’s proposal is expected to provide solutions to unsolved issues like the status of Jerusalem, illegal Israeli settlements and Palestinian refugee rights.

The draft would not be of any use if it does not offer any fresh ideas in resolving the prolonged conflict between Israel and Palestine, Ruddyard told CNN Indonesia.

Details of the Plan

Kushner hinted that the upcoming peace proposal will not include two states for Palestinians and Israelis.

“If you say ‘two-state,’ it means one thing to the Israelis, it means one thing to the Palestinians,” Kushner explained at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Yet, the details of the plan were still vague until an alleged leak of the proposal appeared in the Israeli newspaper Yisrael Hayom. But Greenblatt dismissed that report by tweeting that the plan’s details have not been leaked.

“FYI: our plan hasn’t leaked. Reports like this are inaccurate & just speculation. The article itself even says it may be a hoax. Once again, speculation & bad sources don’t do anything to advance peace,” tweeted Greenblatt.

Greenblatt did say last Wednesday that the Trump administration’s peace plan will not include a confederation between Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and Jordan, and also will not make Jordan the “homeland for Palestinians.”

Palestine Has the Right to Reject the Deal of the Century

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki stated Palestine would not accept a peace plan unless it accommodates Palestinian demands, including the establishment of East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine.

Al-Maliki neither gave any comments nor confirmed the purported contents of the peace deal, which allegedly includes Israeli control over settlements in the West Bank. He added that his side has yet to learn any details about the peace proposal.

Anonymous Trump officials told the Washington Post that the peace plan will include considerable economic incentives for Palestinians, but stop short of full statehood.

“We understand that if the political aspect of it is not solid, the economic aspect is meaningless. But, at the same time, the political aspect will not succeed without a proper economic plan,” the official added.

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