Palestinians propose 'independent and demilitarised' state in counter to Trump plan

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh spoke to foreign journalists on Tuesday in Ramallah


The Palestinian Authority (PA) said it submitted a proposal for a demilitarised Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh also said the PA would declare independence if Israel pushes ahead with plans to annex tranches of the West Bank.

Mr Shtayyeh explained the proposal envisaged the creation of a “sovereign Palestinian state, independent and demilitarised” with “minor modifications of borders where necessary”.  

Territory exchanges would be made for equivalents “in size, in volume, and in value,” Mr Shtayyeh suggested.

Mr Shtayyeh, speaking at a press conference to foreign journalists in Ramallah, did not provide further details on the four and a half page document, which he said had been submitted to the Middle East Quartet, an international body comprising the United States, the United Nations, the European Union and Russia, created to mediate between Israel and the Palestinians.

The Palestinian offer is a counterproposal to the American President Donald Trump’s Middle East ‘peace plan’ that was submitted in January.

The Palestinian Authority have rejected the plan under which Isarel would annex the Jordan Valley and Israeli settlements in the West Bank in exchange for a rump Palestinian state under Israeli security control. 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pledged to begin the process of annexing territory in the West Bank as early as July 1, the date agreed coalition partner and Defence Minister Benny Gantz.

Discussions with the settler leadership on Sunday, however, suggested that Mr Netanyahu was unlikely to “extend sovereignty” over Jordan Valley on that date, as he had initially promised.

Reports in the Israeli press on Wednesday appeared to indicate that he was in fact settling for the annexation of three of the largest settlement blocs in the West Bank – Ma’ale Adumim, Ariel and Gush Etzion – in an attempt to smooth over tension with Jordan and lacking a go-ahead for unilateral annexation from Washington.

Mr Shtayyeh said that annexation represented an “existential threat” to the Palestinians that would represent the “total erosion of our national aspirations.”

The PA Prime Minister also said that Israel should continue the transfer of some $150m in taxes and customs that Israel collects on behalf of the PA, as it would be unable to pay the salaries of civil servants and security forces without it.

Mr Shtayyeh said: “Our people are ready for sacrifices.”

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