Ex-PM Olmert and Abbas to Declare Opposition to Trump's Mideast Plan, UN Envoy Says

Palestinian president and former Israeli leader slated to meet on sidelines of Security Council session, according to Palestinian sources

Jack Khoury
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File photo: Mahmoud Abbas and Ehud Olmert in 2008.
File photo: Mahmoud Abbas and Ehud Olmert in 2008.Credit: Amos Ben Gershom / Government Press Office
Jack Khoury

Former Isreli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will meet next week to declare their opposition to the Donald Trump administration's "deal of the century," the Palestinian delegation to the United Nations said Thursday.

Olmert refused Haaretz's request for comment. 

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The meeting is expected to be held on the sidelines of the UN Security Council session at UN headquarters in New York, with a joint press conference to follow.

The Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations, Riyad Mansour confirmed on Thursday that such a meeting is planned and that the objective is to convene a large press conference and to present an international front against Trump's plan.

Saeb Erekat, the secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization Executive Committee, also discussed the issue with European diplomats with whom he met on Wednesday in Ramallah.

According to Mansour, the joint declaration will be in parallel to additional steps to be adopted by the Palestinians, including a draft bill in the Security Council condemning Trump's plan. Mansour said that the wording of the proposal is being discussed among representatives of the memberscountries, including the Arab countries, and will be placed on the agenda by Tunisia, the current Arab representative in the Security Council.

"We are embarking on a major diplomatic campaign and are aware that the United States will try to cause the failure of the proposal or will cast a veto, but that will not deter us," said Mansour. "We will continue to work on all the diplomatic avenues in order to cause the deal to fail and to emphasize the Palestinian position, which is based on decisions of the international community."

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party reacted to news of the meeting on Twitter, writing: "We call on Benny Gantz" – Netanyahu's rival in the upcoming March election – "to clarify to his friend and close adviser, Ehud Olmert, that this is not the time to meet [Abbas] in order to work against the 'deal of the century.' At this time, we must stand by President Trump and by Israel's national interest – and not be he who incites and encourages terrorism against our soldiers."

Gantz said in response that Olmert is not his adviser and that the former prime minister will do what he thinks is right.

Meanwhile, Jared Kushner is scheduled to brief members of the UN Security Council on Thursday regarding the Mideast plan.

Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, is expected to hold a closed-door briefing with ambassadors of the countries who are members of the Security Council (the five permanent member states are China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States)

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