Hamas to join Palestinian 'emergency' meet against Trump plan

3 min

Ramallah (Palestinian Territories) (AFP)

Rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah will join forces Tuesday in a rare meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah against US President Donald Trump's long-awaited Middle East peace plan, officials said.

"We invited the Hamas movement to attend the emergency meeting of the leadership and they will take part in the meeting," senior Palestinian official Azzam al-Ahmed said.

Hamas official Nasser al-Din al-Shaar confirmed he would attend the meeting, which all Palestinian factions were invited to.

"The meeting will discuss the position that must be taken (against) Trump's plan," Shaar said.

The Islamist rulers of Gaza have been at odds with president Mahmud Abbas's Fatah movement for years, with Hamas representatives rarely taking part in meetings of the West Bank-based Palestinian leadership.

Trump was due to release his plan, years in the works, at the White House later Tuesday together with his close ally Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu -- but Palestinians, who accuse Trump of pro-Israel bias, were not taking part in the Washington event.

Trump, however, claimed not only that the plan might "have a chance," but said it could benefit the Palestinians, who he predicted might come around to the idea.

"It's very good for them, in fact it's overly good for them," the US president told reporters on Monday. "We think we will have ultimately the support of the Palestinians."

The Palestinians meanwhile have urged world powers to reject Trump's plan.

"We call on the international community to not be partners in this (plan) because it contravenes international law," Palestinian prime minister Mohammed Shtayyeh said on Monday.

- Protests planned -

The details of Trump's initiative, which has been in the works since 2017, are not yet public.

But his administration has already recognised Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which the Jewish state captured from Syria in the Six-Day War of 1967 and stopped referring to the West Bank as "occupied" territory.

It also no longer considers Israeli settlements there as inconsistent with international law, and most analysts expect Trump's peace proposal to reaffirm his administration's positions.

Trump also broke with decades of international consensus that the fate of Jerusalem should be negotiated between the parties when he recognised the disputed city as Israel's capital in December 2017.

The release of the plan comes as Trump faces impeachment hearings over abuse of office.

Netanyahu is facing imminent trial proceedings, after dropping his request for parliamentary immunity from corruption charges in a surprise move Tuesday.

"This is a plan to protect Trump from impeachment and protect Netanyahu from prison," Shtayyeh told a cabinet meeting Monday. "It is not a Middle East peace plan."

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas has rejected repeated attempts by Trump to discuss the plan, with a senior Palestinian official telling AFP there would be no discussion with the US "until they recognise the two-state solution".

Some have speculated that the US proposal could pull back from supporting the creation of a Palestinian state with its capital in east Jerusalem, the common definition of the two-state solution.

A series of Palestinian protests are planned in both the West Bank and Gaza on Tuesday and Wednesday.