Turkey and Iran lead regional condemnation of Trump peace plan

Iran and Turkey used extreme rhetoric in condemning the Trump peace plan. However, elsewhere in the region, official opinion sounded more conciliatory.

By Algemeiner Staff

Iran and Turkey led the way in condemning President Donald Trump’s newly-announced Middle East peace initiative, denouncing the American proposal as a betrayal of the rights of the Palestinians.

“The devilish and vicious policy of America toward Palestine called the ‘deal of the century’ will never materialize,” Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei declared in a Farsi-language tweet. “All Muslim nations will confront them and will not let it materialize.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Trump on Tuesday of “legitimizing the Israeli occupation.”

Speaking to reporters as he flew back to Ankara from an official visit to Senegal, Erdogan emphasized that American recognition of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem was an irreconcilable difference.

“Jerusalem is holy to Muslims,” Erdogan said. “The plan to give Jerusalem to Israel will never be acceptable.”

Warning that “some Arab countries” might abandon the Palestinians but naming no names, Erdogan went on to pledge that Turkish diplomats would counter the U.S. peace plan at every opportunity.

The Arab League also expressed opposition to the U.S. initiative on Wednesday, albeit in a more restrained tone.

“The announcement of the deal indicates an infringement of the legitimate rights of Palestinians,” Arab League chief Ahmed Aboul Gheit said in a statement. “A just and sustainable peace cannot be achieved by ignoring the reality of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories since 1967 or by working to legalize this occupation.”

Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas — who on Tuesday slammed Trump as a “dog and the son of a dog” — remained in no mood to compromise.

“We will not kneel and we will not surrender,” Abbas said on Wednesday. “Jerusalem is not for sale.”

Elsewhere in the region, however, official opinion sounded more conciliatory.

“The United Arab Emirates appreciates continued U.S. efforts to reach a Palestine-Israel peace agreement,” the Gulf nation’s ambassador to the U.S., Yousef Al Otaiba, said in a statement. “This plan is a serious initiative that addresses many issues raised over the years.”

Bahrain said on Wednesday that it supported a “just and comprehensive” solution to the Palestinian issue that resulted in the “reimposition of Palestinian rights.”

Qatar responded cautiously, saying it welcomed efforts to broker “longstanding peace” that was nonetheless unattainable without concessions to the Palestinians.

The Egyptian government said that it recognized “the importance of considering the U.S. administration’s initiative” with a view to restoring the “legitimate rights” of the Palestinian people through establishing an “independent and sovereign state on the Palestinian occupied territories in accordance with international legitimacy and resolutions.”

Israel’s neighbor to the east, Jordan, separately warned against the “annexation of Palestinian lands.”

In a statement, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said his country would continue to work with the international community and other Arab states to achieve “a just and lasting peace that meets all the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.”

And Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday that the kingdom appreciated “the efforts of President Trump’s administration to develop a comprehensive peace plan between the Palestinian and the Israeli sides, and encourages the start of direct peace negotiations between the Palestinian and Israeli sides, under the auspices of the United States.”