World leaders react to Trump’s Middle East plan
US president unveils long-awaited proposal that is instantly rejected by Palestinians and sparks calls for protests.
Leaders from around the world are reacting to US President Donald Trump‘s long-awaited Middle East plan, with some denouncing it as “aggressive” and “one-sided” and others saying the proposal initiative “could prove a positive step forward”.
“My vision presents a win-win solution for both sides,” Trump said at the White House on Tuesday, alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Palestinian leaders, who cut off all ties with Washington in late 2017 after Trump controversially recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, immediately rejected the plan, with President Mahmoud Abbas saying it “belongs to the dustbin of history”.
The proposal also triggered immediate condemnation on the streets of the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, with protests expected to continue over the coming days.
On the international stage, Turkey and Iran issued some of the strongest condemnations, with the first branding the plan “stillborn” and the latter describing it as “doomed to fail”.
Qatar said it welcomed efforts to broker “longstanding and just peace” but warned that was unattainable without concessions to the Palestinians.
For its part, Saudi Arabia said it “appreciates” Trump’s efforts and called for direct Israeli-Palestinian talks, while Egypt urged “a careful and thorough examination of the US vision”.
Top European Union diplomat Josep Borrell said the bloc would “study and assess” the US proposals, while Germany’s foreign minister said “only a negotiated two-state solution, acceptable to both sides” would work.
The United Kingdom, meanwhile, gave the warmest reaction, with Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab calling it a “serious proposal, reflecting extensive time and effort”.
Below is a round-up of international reaction to Trump’s announcement of a “peace” plan for the Middle East.
Sami Abu Zuhri, an official of Hamas which governs the Gaza Strip, said Trump’s statement was “aggressive and will spark a lot of anger”.
“Trump’s statement about Jerusalem is nonsense and Jerusalem will always be the land of the Palestinians,” he told Reuters News Agency. “The Palestinians will confront this deal and Jerusalem will remain a Palestinian land.”
Palestinian President Mahmoud 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”.
Pakistan’s foreign ministry said the country consistently backs a two-state solution, as enshrined in the relevant Security Council and General Assembly Resolutions.
“Pakistan continues to support a just and lasting solution of the Palestinian issue, through dialogue and negotiations, that leads to the realization of the legitimate rights of the Palestinians, including the right of self-determination,” it said in a statement.
“We renew our call for the establishment of a viable, independent and contiguous State of Palestine, on the basis of internationally-agreed parameters, the pre-1967 borders, and with Al-Quds Al-Sharif [Jerusalem] as its capital.”
France insisted on a “two-state solution” and said it would “carefully study” Trump’s plan.
“France welcomes President Trump’s efforts and will carefully study the peace plan he presented,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.
It added that “a two-state solution, in conformity with international law and internationally-agreed parameters is necessary for the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East”.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the proposal “will not serve peace and resolution” in the region, calling it “a plan to ignore the rights of the Palestinians and legitimise Israel’s occupation”.
“Jerusalem is sacred to Muslims. The plan to give Jerusalem to Israel can never be accepted,” he told reporters on Wednesday, while returning from a plane trip to Senegal.
Earlier, Turkey’s foreign ministry described it as an “annexation plan that aims to kill the two-state solution and seize Palestinian lands”, calling it “stillborn”.
The Palestinian people and their lands “cannot be bought,” the ministry said in a statement.
Qatar said it welcomed efforts to broker peace but warned that was unattainable without concessions to the Palestinians.
A statement carried by state-run Qatar News Agency said the country “welcomes all efforts aiming towards a longstanding and just peace in the occupied Palestinian territories”. It said Qatar “appreciates the endeavours of President Trump and the current US administration to find solutions for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict”, but added that “all solutions should be consistent with international law and the relevant UN resolutions”.
“All Arab states, through the Arab League, have adopted in 2002 the Arab Peace Initiative, which articulated a set of principles conducive to a just peace,” the statement said.
“The State of Qatar notes in this context that peace cannot be sustainable if Palestinians’ rights in their sovereign state within the 1967 borders, including East Jerusalem, and the right of return are not preserved.”
Yousef al-Otaiba, the United Arab Emirates’ ambassador to Washington, said the plan “offers an important starting point for a return to negotiations within a US-led international framework”.
“The only way to guarantee a lasting solution is to reach an agreement between all concerned parties,” al-Otaiba said in a statement on Tuesday.
“The UAE believes that Palestinians and Israelis can achieve lasting peace and genuine coexistence with the support of the international community.”
Iranian officials dismissed the so-called “peace proposal” as “a plan of imposition and sanctions”.
Hesameddin Ashena, an adviser to Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, said on Twitter: “This is a deal between the Zionist regime (Israel) and America. Interaction with Palestinians is not on its agenda. This is not a peace plan but a plan of imposition and sanctions.”
Later, Iran’s foreign ministry said in a statement: “The shameful peace plan imposed by America on the Palestinians is the treason of the century and doomed to fail.”
Jordan warned against “annexation of Palestinian lands” with the kingdom’s foreign minister warning against the “dangerous consequences of unilateral Israeli measures that aim to impose new realities on the ground”.
Ayman Safadi called for direct negotiations that solve all final status issues in a comprehensive solution under established terms of reference, the Arab peace initiative and international law.
Establishment of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, based on a two-state solution, is the only path to comprehensive and lasting peace, Safadi said in a statement.
“Jordan supports every genuine effort aimed at achieving just and comprehensive peace that people will accept,” he said.
Dozens of protesters gathered outside the US embassy in Amman to protest Trump’s plan, shouting slogans including “No to normalisation” and “We will not recognise Israel”.
Egypt urged Israelis and Palestinians to “carefully study” the proposal. The foreign ministry said in a statement that the plan favours a solution that restores all the “legitimate rights” of the Palestinian people through establishing an “independent and sovereign state on the occupied Palestinian territories”.
Egypt, which along with Jordan is the only Arab country to have made peace with Israel, said it appreciates the US administration’s efforts to try to resolve the decades-old conflict.
Calling the plan a “deal of shame”, Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement said it was a very dangerous step which would have negative consequences on the region’s future, according to Al Manar TV.
It also said the proposal would not have happened without the “complicity and betrayal” of several Arab states.
Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, a leader of Yemen’s Houthi rebels, said Trump’s proposal was “blatant US aggression on Palestine and the nation”.
“It is a deal funded by Saudi (Arabia) and the UAE (United Arab Emirates) to cement Israeli occupation,” he said. “The people of the region have to bear the responsibility of standing up to this danger and facing it with every possible and legitimate means.”
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman reassured the Kingdom’s commitment to the Palestinian issue and Palestinian rights, in a phone call with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the Saudi state news agency reported early on Wednesday.
The foreign ministry said in a statement that it “appreciates the efforts of President Trump’s administration to develop a comprehensive peace plan” and also called for the start of “direct peace negotiation between the Palestinian and Israeli sides”.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson‘s spokesperson said the plan could be a positive step.
“The leaders (Johnson and Trump) discussed the United States’ proposal for peace between Israelis and Palestinians, which could prove a positive step forwards,” he said.
Dominic Raab, Britain’s foreign minister, called on Israeli and Palestinian leaders to give fair consideration to the initiative.
“This is clearly a serious proposal, reflecting extensive time and effort,” said Raab in a statement. “We encourage them (leaders) to give these plans genuine and fair consideration, and explore whether they might prove a first step on the road back to negotiations,” he said.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, according to his spokesperson Stephane Dujarric, said the UN supports two states living in peace and security within recognised borders, based on the pre-1967 borders.
“The United Nations remains committed to supporting Palestinians and Israelis to resolve the conflict on the basis of United Nations resolutions, international law and bilateral agreements and realizing the vision of two States – Israel and Palestine – living side by side in peace and security within recognized borders, on the basis of the pre-1967 lines.”