Protests across Mideast as US’ Arab allies warn against pushing Palestinians out
As President Donald Trump weighs encouraging Arab allies to take steps to facilitate an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal that could strip Palestinians of their hopes for a separate state, massive street protests have erupted in support of the Palestinian cause, with hundreds of thousands of people taking to the streets in Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Tunisia and other Arab nations.
The protests are being spurred by reports in the international news media that the Trump administration is considering a revised version of an old Middle East peace plan that could result in moving the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and recognizing Israeli sovereignty over parts of the West Bank, and other concessions in exchange for financial support from US allies in the region.
The unrest reflects a deep-seated support for Palestinian causes among Arab populations, and denunciations of the Trump administration’s stance from Arab leaders. US allies in the region have collectively warned the White House against including such politically explosive ideas in the plan, and the protests are seen as an expression of defiance of any effort to reduce the Palestinians’ already weakened negotiating position.
Demonstrations have erupted in many Arab capitals and some cities with large Palestinian refugee populations, with protesters brandishing Palestinian flags and chanting, “No deal that erases Palestinian rights.” The Palestinian Authority has officially condemned the plan as “an insult to the Palestinian people,” while leaders of the Palestinian resistance group Hamas have called the plan “a declaration of war” and a “great treason.”