The Dome of the Rock as seen from Abu Dis, December, 2017 - Reuters
CAIRO – 5 February 2018: The U.S. has refused a proposed move by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, telling Abbas, “Take it or leave it,” in reference to President Donald Trump’s so-called “Deal of the Century”.
As an anticipated reaction, sources have given a 95 percent probability to Palestinian resistance factions launching a war on Israeli settlements within next few days or hours.
"The U.S. peace team has handed over the plan [so-called the Deal of the Century] to the Palestinian side through a third party that told Palestinian officials that Israel has built its own city of Jerusalem through developing a group of villages and building new districts, and Palestinians can do the same thing and build their own Jerusalem,” a high-ranking western diplomat told the Pan-Arab Al Hayat newspaper on Sunday.
According to the diplomat who talked to Al Hayat, the capital of the Palestinian state could be in the town of Abu Dis in the suburbs of Jerusalem.
The Palestinian city of Abu Dis is seen near the Israeli separation barrier in the West Bank. Ahmad Gharabli - AFP Photo
Abu Dis has been under the civil jurisdiction of the Palestinian National Authority but has been subject to Israeli security controls since signing the Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in 1995. Abu Dis has a population of 12,604 according to the latest census conducted by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics in 2016; it had 2,640 inhabitants in 1967.
The plan describes the transferring of Arab neighborhoods, suburbs and villages where there are no settlements to the Palestinian side, establishing a passage for Palestinians to the Aqsa Mosque, providing a humanitarian solution for Palestinian refugees, and dissolving the UNRWA within a certain timeline, Al-Hayat added.
The western diplomat explained that the plan proposes a transitional solution that is represented in setting up a Palestinian state on about half the area of the West Bank and the entire area of the Gaza Strip and some neighborhoods and villages of Jerusalem, with the old city and the surrounding neighborhoods such as Silwan and Sheikh Jarrah within the so-called "Israeli Jerusalem".
“Israel is willing to concede the crowded neighborhoods to be part of the Palestinian Jerusalem such as Beit Hanina, Shafat and Ras Khamis,” the diplomat manifested.
Palestinian protesters climb the barrier dividing Abu Dis from Jerusalem in November 2014 -Reuters
According to the plan, which is in its final stages according to U.S. officials, borders, settlements and security will remain under Israeli dominance, but there will be negotiations on them after establishment of the Palestinian state, which will obtain recognition of the United States, Israel and the entire world.
A western diplomat revealed that President Mahmoud Abbas had presented an alternative vision of Palestine’s future through the third party. This vision establishes a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders in stages with an exchange of lands that allows Israel to annex the main settlement blocs.
“Abbas asked for reaching a consensus on borders first in exchange for approving the establishment of a Palestinian state in several stages,” the western diplomat added
However, the U.S. refused the Palestinian offer as they considered their plan non-negotiable. "U.S. officials told Palestinians either to take the plan as it is or leave it as it is,” the diplomat revealed.
Meanwhile, Al Hayat has learnt that Hamas and Palestinian resistance factions are getting ready for a war on the Gaza Strip against the Israelis. Credible Palestinian sources quoted leaders of various factions, including Hamas' leader Yahia al-Sinwar, as seeing the probability of such a war at 95 percent within the few next hours or days.
“Israel is expected to take advantage of the joint military exercises it is holding with U.S. forces on (Monday) to launch an aggression on Gaza,” the Palestinian sources added.
On December 6, U.S. President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel by announcing the relocation of the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This decision was condemned and rejected by all Arab and Islamic countries, as well as most Western and Asian countries.
Hundreds of protesters took to the streets to denounce the American decision on Jerusalem in different cities across the world.
Ultra-Orthodox Jews walk in Jerusalem with the Dome of the Rock mosque visible in the background. Thomas Coex- AFP
On December 21, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) overwhelmingly passed a non-binding resolution condemning Trump’s decision and called on states not to move their diplomatic missions to Jerusalem.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said in an interview with Fox News in January that the U.S. is already planning the first step of moving the embassy to Jerusalem. “The decision was made and we will move our embassy to Israel’s capital,” Pence stated.
Reuters reported earlier that the Saudi Crown Prince had promised Palestine's Abbas to "hear good news" about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict during their meeting in November in Riyadh, while the Palestinian President denied Saudi pressures to accept the American announcement over Jerusalem.
"Some Arab countries have interfered into the Palestinian domestic affairs and pressured us to accept the American decision," Abbas said on January 15.
He slammed the unnamed Arab countries. "Leave us alone," he stated.
"An Arab official tried to convince me three times to accept Trump's decision on Jerusalem and offered me money to accept that deal," Abbas added.