Ismail Haniya warns against US ‘deal of the century’

Hamas leader says US has proposed Abu Dis as capital of a future Palestinian state instead of East Jerusalem.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniya
Haniya says the US offered Abu Dis to the PA as the capital of a future Palestinian state [Said Khatib/AFP]

Hamas leader Ismail Haniya has said that the US had offered the Palestinian Authority a Jerusalem suburb, Abu Dis, as an alternative to East Jerusalem for the capital of a future Palestinian state.

Speaking at a meeting with Palestinian clan leaders in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, Haniya labelled President Donald Trump’s recent decision, to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a ploy to demolish the Palestinian cause in line with the so-called deal of the century.

“The US is still offering deals and continues to be on the side of the Palestinian Authority (PA) one way or another, in order to give them a capital or entity in the Abu Dis area, away from Jerusalem, with a bridge linking to al-Aqsa Mosque allowing for the freedom of prayer,” he said.

Haniya said certain regional forces are seeking to divide the West Bank into three sections, in addition to creating a political entity in the Gaza Strip with its own controlling powers.

Al Jazeera’s Wael al-Dahdouh, reporting from Gaza City, said Haniya cautioned local, regional and international players against working to implement the US plan for the Middle East, which is yet to be published.

Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and a White House adviser, has been spearheading efforts to gauge the possibility of resuming the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

“Haniya sent a warning to all the parties that are involved in this ‘deal of the century’, whether they are Palestinian, Arab or Muslim, or international,” Dahdouh said.

“There are also signs that the Israelis will take advantage of this deal to impose their version of facts on the ground, such as the Judaization of Jerusalem bill that will be voted on tomorrow.”

Haniya said the US decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel introduces new risks that could affect the nature of the relationship between Palestine and Jordan.

He cited reports of discussions regarding an alternative homeland for Palestinians and a confederation between Jordan and Palestine.

Haniya said he has spoken to King Abdullah of Jordan about what he saw as the dangers arising from the Jerusalem decision, the resettlement project and alternative homeland.

He also asked Palestinians to continue their “uprising” against Trump’s decision, and for popular movements in the Arab and Muslim capitals to carry on their protests.

Addressing the ongoing reconciliation process between the two, main Palestinian groups, Fatah and Hamas, Haniya said internal, political issues need to be addressed quickly in order for a unified government to devote itself to major, national ones.

He also sounded a warning regarding the potential “grave” consequences of the slow implementation of the Egypt-brokered reconciliation agreement, which was signed in October in Cairo by Fatah and Hamas representatives.

For his part, Yahya Sinwar, the prime minister of the Hamas government, speaking at Tuesday’s meeting in Gaza, called for efforts to support reconciliation efforts aimed at “uniting in the battle of Jerusalem”.

He also demanded that the Palestinian leadership “convene the unified leadership framework of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) in the presence of all Palestinians”.

Source: Al Jazeera