Palestinian-Israeli politician puts scrapping Trump's Middle East plan as priority in upcoming general election

Palestinian-Israeli politician puts scrapping Trump's Middle East plan as priority in upcoming general election
Palestinian-Israeli party leader Ayman Odeh is using his platform to speak out against Donald Trump's controversial Middle East plan.
3 min read
28 February, 2020
Ayman Odeh [Getty]
Leading Palestinian-Israeli politician Ayman Odeh has made US President Donald Trump and his controversial "Deal of the Century" the main target of his campaign for Tuesday's general election.

"We have an opportunity to defeat the Trump plan in these elections," said Ayman Odeh, head of the mainly Palestinian Joint List, the third largest in Israel's outgoing parliament.

Odeh, 45 is heading a coalition in a bid to succeed in his fourth Israeli election.

He is hoping record turnout among Palestinians and increased support from left-wing Jews could see the list win more seats than ever, enabling them to oust right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who will be facing a corruption trial on 17 March after the elections.

Netanyahu's main challenger, centrist Blue and White leader Benny Gantz, is trying to focus voter attention on the prime minister's upcoming corruption trial.

Netanyahu was standing on the White House podium on 28 January as Trump unveiled his widely criticised peace plan – absent of a Palestinian delegate.

The plan has since been internationally canned, with Palestinian authorities and human rights organisations as well as the United Nations all criticising the plan.

Amnesty International says it violates international law, and others argue that it essentially nullifies the internationally-recognised two-state solution.

The Israeli premier was visibly thrilled by the plan, which endorsed Israel's major priorities at the expense of the Palestinians.

The plan would cede a huge part of the occupied West Bank to Israel by allowing the country to annex the Jordan Valley, and it would allow for the creation of a tiny Palestinian state, only if Palestinians met a set of nearly impossible demands.
The plan is a source of anger for Palestinians [Getty]

Page 13 of the 181-page plan backed the transfer of Israel's so-called "Arab triangle" region into a future Palestinian state.

If implemented, that could see some Palestinian Israelis having their citizenship changed.

"The core problem with this plan is the prime minister is talking about how he will get rid of part of his citizens," Odeh told AFP in a cafe in Haifa, his home city in northern Israel.

Bibi vs Tibi

"I am a son of Haifa, I grew up with the Jews, we cannot establish a border between us and our Jewish neighbours," he said.

The Netanyahu-endorsed Trump plan "deals with the Arabs as unwanted citizens of a country they want exclusively for Jews".

Netanyahu subsequently said he was opposed to population transfers.

Odeh tweets and gives speeches and statements in Hebrew, in which he is fluent, and is also prone to quoting Ibn Khaldoun, the great Arab historian and chronicler of the 14th century.

During this election campaign, Israel's third in a year, Odeh has portrayed the Trump plan as the "most dangerous" issue since 1967, when Israel occupied east Jerusalem and the West Bank in the Six-Day War.

Netanyahu's camp has often used the fear of "dangerous" Odeh and his ally Ahmed Tibi to stir up its right-wing Jewish base.

He has repeatedly claimed that Gantz cannot form a government unless he agrees to a coalition with the Joint List.

The premier's Likud party election posters promise a government "without Ahmed Tibi".

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