Jerusalem, al-Quds (ANN)- Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh has roundly dismissed US President Donald Trump’s so-called deal of the century on the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict, stating that the initiative was only a proposal for an apartheid system that legitimizes the Israeli regime’s colonial project in Palestinian territories.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with CNN television news network on Thursday, Shtayyeh said the Palestinian people and leadership have rejected the deal because it “simply gives al-Quds (Jerusalem) completely to the Israelis, creates a temporal and spatial division of the al-Aqsa Mosque, and keeps settlements on Palestinian land, where 720,000 settlers would remain illegally on our lands.”
He also rejected Trump’s claim that his proposal “could be the last opportunity” for Palestinians, noting, “This is not an opportunity, nor a prelude to negotiation, but rather the maintenance of the fait accompli while calling it a Palestinian state.”
“This plan is 100% biased with the Israelis, and it is in complete harmony with what [Israeli PM Benjamin] Netanyahu wants, because he is the real author [of the plan]. The plan carries his same language, ideas and speeches that we heard and read previously,” Shtayyeh pointed out.
The Palestinian prime minister underlined that “Israel should not be allowed to be above the law. It violates human rights, seizes Palestinian lands, and illegally builds settlements.”
“The United States cannot grant things it does not possess. These are Palestinian lands, and Israel cannot annex any part of them… What is happening now is that the US administration is trying to create a new reference for the [peace] solution and give legitimacy to this annexation. This is a very dangerous situation,” Shtayyeh said.
He also rejected Trump’s plan that envisages the proposed Palestinian capital be located in Abu Dis, a neighborhood on the outskirts of Jerusalem al-Quds.
“Al-Quds (Jerusalem) is not any part of Jerusalem; al-Quds is the old town and the surrounding area and the entire basin of the Holy City, where 300,000 people live. Al-Quds is the city that was occupied in 1967,” Shtayyeh said.
Jerusalem al-Quds is not for sale, says Erdogan
Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Trump’s proposal is an “occupation project.”
Speaking at the 5th Anatolian Media Awards ceremony in the capital Ankara on Thursday, Erdogan said, “Al-Quds (Jerusalem) is not for sale. Al-Quds is a red line for us.”
On Tuesday, Trump unveiled his so-called deal of the century, negotiated with Israel but without the Palestinians.
Palestinian leaders, who severed all ties with Washington in late 2017 after Trump controversially recognized Jerusalem al-Quds as the capital of the Israeli regime, immediately rejected the plan, with President Mahmoud Abbas saying it “belongs to the dustbin of history.”
Thousands of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and besieged Gaza Strip poured out onto the street in immediate condemnation of the plan.
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani condemned Trump’s so-called ‘peace plan’ for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as ‘the most despicable plan of the century.’
“Enough of these foolish attempts,” Rouhani wrote on his Twitter account on Wednesday.
“The Most Despicable Plan of the Century,” he added.
Iran’s Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani also referred to Trump’s deal as a dangerous plan for the West Asia region which, describing it as a ploy devised to make up for the failures of the United States and the Israeli regime.
“We have to try to make all Muslim countries united against this illegal and inhuman agreement,” Larijani said while speaking in a phone conversation with Syrian Parliament Speaker Hammouda Sabbagh on Wednesday.
“In fact, this deal and treasonous conspiracy is designed to fulfill the wishes of the Israeli regime in the region,” Larijani noted, adding that despite the claims of the US officials, the plan has nothing to do with the interests of the Palestinian people.
Abbas said “a thousand no’s” to the plan.
“After the nonsense that we heard today, we say a thousand no’s to the deal of the century,” Abbas said at a press conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah, where the Palestinian Authority is headquartered.
He said the Palestinians remain committed to ending the Israeli occupation and establishing a state with its capital in east Jerusalem.
“We will not kneel and we will not surrender,” Abbas said, adding that the Palestinians would resist the plan through “peaceful, popular means”.
Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance movement has called the plan a “deal of shame,” said it was a very dangerous step which would have negative consequences on the region’s future.
It also said the proposal would not have happened without the “complicity and betrayal” of several Arab states.