US News Palestinians clash with Israeli police after 'peace plan' leak

12:55  24 january  2020
12:55  24 january  2020 Source:   news.sky.com

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a group of people wearing costumes: Palestinians were encouraged to attend Friday prayers © Other Palestinians were encouraged to attend Friday prayers

Israeli security forces have clashed with Palestinian worshippers as they arrived at Friday prayers at Jerusalem's Al Aqsa mosque.

Palestinian leaders had, last week, called for mass attendance at dawn prayers at holy sites in Jerusalem as well as throughout the West Bank and Gaza.

But tensions spiked around the mosque, which is located in Jerusalem's old city on what Israel calls Temple Mount, as news leaked on Thursday night of the contents of Donald Trump's "peace plan" for the region.

Benjamin Netanyahu, Mike Pence are posing for a picture: Mike Pence and Benjamin Netanyahu at the Western Wall © Reuters Mike Pence and Benjamin Netanyahu at the Western Wall

The American president has indicated that his long-awaited plan for peace between the Israelis and Palestinians will be released before Tuesday next week.

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The content of his so-called "deal of the century" has been the subject of much speculation for months having been moulded in secret by his son-in-law Jared Kushner and a small policy team inside the White House.

On Thursday, on a visit to Jerusalem, US Vice President Mike Pence invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition leader Benny Gantz to Washington to discuss the peace plan.

Speaking to reporters on a flight to Florida, the US president said the plan will be released before the Tuesday meeting.

"Sometime prior to that... Probably we'll release it a little bit prior to that." Mr Trump said.

Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: Donald Trump says he loves 'doing deals' © Getty Donald Trump says he loves 'doing deals'

He dismissed leaked details of the plan's contents as "purely speculative".

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Fresh clashes have erupted between Israeli police and Palestinians in east Jerusalem. The latest bloodshed, which also includes a drive-by shooting in the West Bank that killed an Israeli couple, has triggered concerns of wider escalation – especially in the absence of peace talks that collapsed in 2014.

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In the leaks to the Israeli media, it is suggested that the plan will propose that all Israeli settlements in the West Bank would become sovereign Israeli territory.

Israeli sovereignty would also be given to the whole of Jerusalem with the city being officially recognised as the Israeli capital.

Palestinians would be granted statehood but only on condition that they recognise Jerusalem as being the capital of the Jewish State of Israel and subject to Gaza being demilitarised with Hamas giving up its weapons.

a flock of birds standing on top of a building: The mosque is on what Israel calls Temple Mount © Reuters The mosque is on what Israel calls Temple Mount

For the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza, the plan will be entirely unreasonable and will be rejected outright. No Palestinians have been invited to next week's White House meeting.

Mr Trump indicated that he had had limited discussion with the Palestinians and predicted that, initially at least, they would reject it.

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Arab leaders are warning of disastrous consequences, after President Donald Trump announced U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital; but

Mounted Israeli police surrounded Palestinian protesters as they gathered to demonstrate strict security measures being imposed against Muslims at the Temple Mount in East Jerusalem, Friday. The demonstration comes just hours after Israeli police announced Muslim men under the age of 50

He said: "We've spoken to them briefly. But we will speak to them in a period of time... And they have a lot of incentive to do it. I'm sure they maybe will react negatively at first but it's actually very positive for them.

"I'd love to be able to do that deal. They say that's the hardest of all deals... I love doing deals.

"It's a great plan. It's a plan that really would work."

Internationally, Israeli settlements in the West Bank are considered illegal.

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The United Nations, the European Union and the UK all continue to call for a two-state solution with Israel based on 1967 borders with agreed land swaps and with Jerusalem as the shared capital of both states.

The calculus in Mr Trump's White House is that the two-state solution in its existing proposed form has cemented a stalemate stretching back nearly three decades and that shifting the dial, albeit in Israel's favour, prompts a new, fresh conversation.

The plan will also shift the political dial in Israel as Israelis prepare to go to the polls for the third time in 11 months this March. Two elections last year were inconclusive.

EU and Arab states have not yet said how they will react to the plan but they are likely to reject it as not providing for a viable and sovereign Palestinian state.

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How the Middle East Is Reacting to Donald Trump's Israeli-Palestinian Peace Plan .
Middle Eastern nations offered mixed reactions to President Donald Trump's long-awaited Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, a framework negotiated without the participation of Palestinians.Trump released his "Vision for Peace, Prosperity and a Brighter Future" alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday at a White House gathering boycotted by Palestinian officials that have severed ties to the administration over its decision to recognize the contested city of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital. Trump billed his initiative as the most detailed yet after successive U.S. administrations have tried and failed for years to settle the conflict.

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