ISTANBUL (TURKISH JOURNAL) – By Janet Ekstract – On Sunday, at the Third Conference of the interparliamentary Jerusalem Platform held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said: “the so-called ‘Deal of the Century’ [which] declares Jerusalem the capital of Israel is nothing more than a dream that threatens peace in the region. We will not allow this dream to come true.” Erdogan added: “We do not recognize this plan, which means annexation of Palestinian lands, completely destroys Palestine, and completely seizes Jerusalem. We never accept this attempt, which accepts a two-state solution on the surface but actually means legitimizing the Israeli occupation under the mandate of the American administration.
Erdogan was referring to The Middle East Plan also known as the ‘Deal of the Century’ that was announced on January 28 and refers to Jerusalem as “Israel’s undivided capital.” The deal, designed by U.S. President Trump’s Jewish son-in-law Jared Kushner would virtually hand Israel everything it has demanded, leaving the Palestinians with very little land and the possibility of statehood only after a four-year period, depending on a number of criteria that must be met including full financial stability with privatization, which officials say is just not possible within such a short timeframe.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres reiterated at a Security Council meeting on this topic last week that the current plan violates UN resolutions and does not include the long term aspirations of a two-state solution. Guterres emphasized that the way to a political solution is to allow the Palestinians and Israelis to decide their own future based on the original two-state solution.
Meanwhile, Turkey, the EU, Malaysia and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation took a stand that urges “all member states not to engage with this plan or to cooperate with the U.S. administration in implementing it in any form.” Most of the Muslim nations have condemned the plan, saying it violates United Nations resolutions and goes against the pre-1967 border agreement that a two-state solution would include. Kushner, in a CNN interview with Fareed Zakaharia, a week ago, pushed the plan as a ‘business deal’ explaining that at the meeting where he presented the plan, the Middle East business community said they would love to invest in Palestine provided it meets the criteria for security outlined in the plan. Kushner’s remarks were not met with positive comments since his remarks criticized the Palestinians, saying they should “take control of themselves” and painted Israel as the victim rather than the victimizer.
Turkey’s president said that his country “will never remain silent on the annexation of Jerusalem or forsake its fellow Palestinian brother in this fight.” Erdogan reiterated: “I would like to stress once again that Jerusalem is our red line. As Muslim countries, our most important responsibility in this process is to protect Al-Aqsa Mosque, embrace the peace symbol Jerusalem, and defend the rights of Palestinians.”
Referring to certain Islamic nations who are on board with the plan, Erdogan explained: “The policy pursued by some Islamic countries against this step, which is the beginning of a process that will affect the entire world, especially the Middle East, has created a sad picture.” Trump had only invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House when he announced the plan and never spoke to or included any Palestinian officials. Turkey’s president has previously slammed some Islamic countries for sending representatives to the White House when they announced the plan.
Kushner plans to unveil the second half of the plan which would outline a political solution, in September 2020.
In the meantime, on February 11, Mahmoud Abbas, head of the Palestinian Authority will address the UN Security Council and propose a draft resolution to counter the U.S. administration’s plan. The U.S. is expected to veto the resolution which could then be appealed on a higher level.