TEL AVIV – The Palestinian Authority has greenlighted mass protests in the West Bank against President Donald Trump’s soon-to-be-unveiled peace proposal.
The decision comes on the heels of a recent visit to the region by U.S. peace envoys Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt. The American officials held meetings in Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Egypt, but were shunned by PA President Mahmoud Abbas, according to a report published Saturday in the London-based, Arabic-language Al-Hayat newspaper.
The Palestinians believe that the American overture was intended to force the Palestinians into accepting a plan that is biased towards Israel, according to the report. The Palestinian leadership, which has rejected all previous peace proposals, has denounced the plan, which has so far remained under wraps, as the “slap of the century.” The ruling Fatah faction also said the planned demonstrations were intended to overturn the “big U.S. conspiracy.”
The upcoming protests are also reportedly a way for the PA to prove that they too, like Hamas in the Gaza Strip, are capable of galvanizing the masses into demonstrating.
“We believe that the countdown for publicly announcing the Trump plan has begun,” a senior PA official in Ramallah told The Jerusalem Post. “This is why we have decided to act quickly in order to thwart this evil plan, which is aimed at liquidating our national rights and the entire Palestinian cause.”
A Ramallah- based political analyst told the Post, “The planned demonstrations are not only against the Trump peace plan, but are also intended to send a message to the world that the Palestinians stand behind President Abbas and his leadership.”
However, the first protest only gathered a few dozen people in Ramallah on Monday.
A group called the National and Islamic Forces on Saturday called on Palestinians to protest Trump’s plan and express support for the PA.
Last week, Palestinian activists launched an online campaign with the unambiguous title of “The National Campaign to Down the Deal of the Century.”
Campaign organizers claimed they received “widespread support” from the public, with more than three million Palestinians interacting in various ways on social media.
“We are planning to expand our activity to as many places as possible in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and our lands that were occupied in 1948,” a spokesman for the campaign said. “We are also hoping to win the support of Palestinians and Arabs living around the world until we achieve our goal.”
The Palestinians, the spokesman added, would foil Trump’s peace plan just like they had thwarted “suspicious schemes” in the past. “The Trump administration will not find one Palestinian loyal to his people and cause who would accept its plan to destroy our rights,” he said.