Boris Johnson praises Donald Trump’s plan for peace in the Middle East as he hits out at Jeremy Corbyn for being ‘characteristically negative’ about the blueprint
- Donald Trump yesterday unveiled plan to try to bring about peace in Middle East
- His proposals were welcomed by Israel but instantly rejected by Palestinians
- Boris Johnson today suggested the proposals could be starting point for peace
Boris Johnson today praised Donald Trump’s proposed Middle East peace plan after the US President’s blueprint was welcomed by Israel but condemned by Palestinian authorities.
Mr Trump unveiled the long-awaited plan, which envisions a disjointed Palestinian state that turns over key parts of the West Bank to Israel, alongside Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday.
The proposals were instantly described as siding with Israel on key contentious issues but Mr Johnson said he believed the document could provide a path to peace as he criticised Jeremy Corbyn for outright rejecting the suggested way forward.
The Labour leader raised the matter at Prime Minister’s Questions as he said Mr Trump’s route map was ‘not a peace plan’ because it would ‘deny Palestinian people their fundamental rights’.
Boris Johnson today said ‘no peace plan’ is perfect as he urged Israel and Palestinian authorities to engage with Donald Trump’s proposed peace plan
Jeremy Corbyn said Mr Trump’s plan ‘will not bring any move towards peace’ and ‘has no support from any Palestinian anywhere in the world’
Speaking as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was due to arrive in the UK for talks, Mr Corbyn asked Mr Johnson: ‘Will you make it clear that the British government will stand for a genuine internationally-backed peace plan rather than this stuff proposed by Trump yesterday?’
But Mr Johnson hit back and said: ‘Let’s be clear, this is a problem that has bedeviled the world for decades and the Middle East of course in particular.
‘No peace plan is perfect but this has the merit of a two state solution. It is a two state solution.
‘It would ensure that Jerusalem is both the capital of Israel and of the Palestinian people and I urge you rather than being so characteristically negative, to reach out to your friends, to my friends, our friends in the Palestinian authority, to Mahmoud Abbas for whom I have the highest respect, and urge him for once to engage with this initiative, to get talking rather than to leave a political vacuum.’
Mr Corbyn said the plan ‘will not bring any move towards peace’ and ‘has no support from any Palestinian anywhere in the world’ as he urged the PM to tell Mr Trump: ‘On this you are wrong.’
The Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas immediately dismissed the plan as ‘nonsense’ and vowed to resist it.
But Mr Netanyahu called it a ‘historic breakthrough’ equal in significance to Israel’s declaration of independence in 1948.
Mr Trump’s plan states that Israel would have to make ‘significant territorial compromises’ and argues that a Palestinian state should have territory ‘reasonably comparable in size to the territory of the West Bank and Gaza pre-1967’.
However, a map of what the two state solution could look like shows a disjointed Palestinian state with Israeli and Palestinian enclaves linked to their respective states by what the plan calls ‘pragmatic transportation solutions’, including bridges, tunnels and roads.
The Jordan Valley, which accounts for around a quarter of the West Bank, ‘will be under Israeli sovereignty’.
Meanwhile, the plan would leave most of annexed east Jerusalem, including its Old City and holy sites, under Israeli control while allowing the Palestinians to establish a capital on the outskirts of the city outside Israel’s separation barrier.
It said Jerusalem’s holy sites, sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims, should be open to worshippers.
The plan would also allow Israel to immediately annex virtually all its settlements in the occupied West Bank, which are viewed as illegal by the Palestinians and most of the international community.
The Palestinians seek all of the West Bank and east Jerusalem – areas captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war – for an independent state and the removal of more than 700,000 Israeli settlers from these areas.
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