Middle East peace proposal: Trump offering Palestinians 'Swiss cheese' state, says Palestinian PM
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected Abbas' criticism and said that "this is not Swiss cheese. This is the best plan that exists for the Middle East and for the State of Israel and for the Palestinians, too".
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, appearing before the United Nations Security Council, on Tuesday rejected US President Donald Trump's Middle East peace proposal, saying that the state carved out for Palestinians looked like a fragmented "Swiss cheese".
He called the US administration peace proposal as “a gift to Israel and unacceptable to Palestinians”.
In a setback for the Palestinians, a draft Security Council resolution circulated by Tunisia and Indonesia that would have implicitly criticized Trump's plan, including Israel's retention of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, was not put to a vote.
The text, which faced a near-certain US veto, did not go forward in part because it failed to garner the support needed by the Palestinians to isolate the US, two diplomats at the United Nations said.
One said the draft, which the United States wanted to water down, attracted 11 or 12 votes in favor on the 15-member council. A second diplomat said it would have required too many compromises to achieve the 14-1 vote the Palestinians may have sought.
"Today, by not putting forward a polarizing resolution, the United Nations Security Council demonstrated that the old way of doing things is over," a senior Trump administration official said.
What does the peace plan say?
Released on January 28, Trump's plan would recognize Israel’s authority over West Bank Jewish settlements and require Palestinians meet a difficult series of conditions for a state, with its capital in a West Bank village east of Jerusalem.
Waving a copy of a map that the US plan envisions for a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine, Abbas said: "This is the state that they will give us… It's like a Swiss cheese, really. Who among you will accept a similar state and similar conditions?"
Abbas had earlier mocked what Trump called the "deal of the century," describing it as the "slap of the century".
Meanwhile, speaking at an election rally in the Israeli town of Bat Yam, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected the criticism and hinted at the possibility that Arab states might entertain the Trump plan even if Palestinians do not.
"This is not Swiss cheese. This is the best plan that exists for the Middle East – for the Middle East – and for the State of Israel and for the Palestinians, too," he said, adding that the plan "recognizes reality and the rights of the people of Israel, both of which you constantly refuse to recognize."
Abbas urged Trump to disavow the plan and seek a return to negotiations based on existing UN resolutions that call for a two-state solution based on pre-1967 border lines.
While Arab League Foreign Ministers on February 1 rejected the plan, three Gulf Arab states -- Oman, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates -- were represented at the White House announcement, suggesting they may be prioritizing ties with Washington over traditional Arab alliances.