White House peace plan will be 'anti-Palestinian' says foreign minister

Riyad Al Maliki's comments came after White House envoy Jason Greenblatt spoke at UN

Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs Riyad al-Maliki speaks to the press following his talks with the ICC prosecutor at the International Criminal Court in The Hague on May 22, 2018.  His meeting took place just over a week after 62 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire as they protested the US decision to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to the disputed city of Jerusalem. - Netherlands OUT
 / AFP / ANP / Lex van LIESHOUT
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Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al Maliki said on Thursday that he was ready for a bad outcome after hearing White House envoy Jason Greenblatt address the UN about the US peace plan.

A meeting at the UN headquarters mostly discussed Israeli settlement building, but the talking points changed after speeches by Mr Al Maliki and Mr Greenblatt, with the two men sitting only 10 metres apart in New York.

“I am saddened," the Palestinian minister said after the session. "I thought I was listening to an Israeli speaker or a lawyer that speaks on behalf of the Israeli government, rather than an American official.

“It seems that the American position has been totally hijacked. Right now the US administration has no independent position.

"Their role is only to protect, to defend, to serve the interests of Israel. We listened to him. He attacked the Palestinians and nothing else.

“It's very clear. His thinking is well set to be exclusively anti-Palestinian, anti-peace and anti-logic.”

Thursday's informal meeting on settlements was convened by Security Council members Indonesia, Kuwait and South Africa.

It took on greater importance than originally envisaged after Hamas launched an estimated 700 rockets from Gaza into Israel, leading to retaliatory attacks and deaths on both sides.

Mr Greenblatt, a lawyer and former chief legal officer to Donald Trump and the Trump Organisation, along with Jared Kushner, the US president's son-in-law, are next month expected to publish their long-awaited plan for peace between Palestine and Israel.

But after White House decisions in Israel's favour, including the move last year of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and lack of criticism for a massive increase in building of Israeli settlements, the plan has been derided in advance for being partisan.

Adding to the low expectations is a political and diplomatic divide among the respective parties.

While Mr Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have been politically inseparable in recent months, there have been no talks between the White House and the Palestinians.

Mr Greenblatt began at the UN meeting by criticising the Security Council for “rehashing tired talking points” on Middle East peace.

Mr Kushner last month suggested that the US plan might not mention the two-state solution that has long been the central plank of international efforts on Middle East peace.

At the UN, Mr Greenblatt failed to mention two states, but said the White House proposals would be “reasonable and implementable”, describing it as “the right package of compromises for both sides”, although he gave no details.

Past statements have said the plan will involve a security element and an economic plan, but during his speech Mr Al Maliki said the US under the Trump administration had lost its standing as a peace broker.

“This is not a peace plan but rather conditions for surrender, and there is no amount of money that can make it acceptable,” he said.