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Mon, 28 September 2020

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By Theo Clarke MP and Lord McConnell
Press releases

Boris Johnson must reject Donald Trump's 'wrong' Middle East peace plan, Jeremy Corbyn demands

Boris Johnson must reject Donald Trump's 'wrong' Middle East peace plan, Jeremy Corbyn demands
4 min read

Jeremy Corbyn has slammed Donald Trump's long-awaited peace plan for the Middle East, saying it will not help to deliver peace to the region.

The Labour leader urged Boris Johnson to reject "wrong" US plans for a two-state solution in the Middle East, as he warned they had "no support from any Palestinian anywhere in the world."

Mr Trump's proposals - which were immediately rejected by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas - would see Jerusalem remain Israel's "undivided capital" while handing it control of settlements in the West Bank, a move currently considered illegal under international law.

Meanwhile, the US commander-in-chief said his plans would give the Palestinians a capital in eastern Jerusalem, where the US would open an embassy, as well as new land in the Israeli desert.

But in a fiery exchange at Prime Minister's Questions, Mr Corbyn said the UK should "frankly and candidly" tell President Trump he was "wrong".

"Mr Trump's latest Middle East peace plan is not a peace plan," he said. "It will annex Palestinian territory, lock-in illegal Israeli colonisation, transfer Palestinian citizens of Israel and deny Palestinian people their fundamental rights.

He added: "I think the Prime Minister should acknowledge that President Trump's plan will not bring any move towards peace, has no support from any Palestinian anywhere in the world and maybe this would be a good opportunity for the British government to say, frankly and candidly to the US: on this you are wrong.

"There needs to be a two-state solution with international support. "

But the Prime Minister brushed off the critcism and accused Mr Corbyn of being "characteristically negative" about the plans.

"Let's be clear: this is a problem that has bedevilled the world for decades and the Middle East, of course, in particular," he said.

"No peace plan is perfect. But this has the merit of a two-state solution. It is a two-state solution. It would ensure that Jerusalem is both the capital of Israel and of the Palestinian people.

"And I urge him, rather than being so characteristically negative, to reach out to his friends, my friends, our friends in the Palestinian Authority, to Mahmoud Abbas for whom I have the highest respect and urge him for once to engage with this initiative. To get talking rather than to leave a political vacuum."


The row came after a string of Labour leadership candidates also heaped scorn on the US proposals.

Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer said: "Trump's so-called 'peace plan' is a farce. It is inconsistent with international law and human rights protections.

"Our Government should unequivocally condemn it because it will cause even more suffering for the Palestinian people who have already endured so much.

"We shouldn't rest until there is a just and a peaceful two-state solution."

Fellow leadership contender and Shadow Business Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey said: "Trump's deal is nothing like a 'peace plan'.

"It will only perpetuate conflict, encourage extremism & undermine rights of the Palestinian people under international law. The British government must loudly oppose the proposals, which include the annexation of illegally occupied territory.

"Trump's 'deal' is an attack on Palestinians, Palestinian statehood & rights of refugees. Peace & reconciliation must be based on recognition of international law & the democratic & human rights of Palestinians & Israelis.

"These are the principles that must underpin any settlement."

Meanwhile Lisa Nandy, the Wigan MP who also chairs Labour Friends of Palestine, said: "As the UK government, we have a history in the Middle East. We had a role to play in creating these problems in the first place.

"And to not stand up now, when we can see the implications of what the Trump administration is doing, is really, really disgraceful. Britain has got to find its voice again."

But Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has welcomed the plan - which comes as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fights for re-election - as "a serious proposal, reflecting extensive time and effort".

The Cabinet minister said: "A peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians that leads to peaceful coexistence could unlock the potential of the entire region, and provide both sides with the opportunity for a brighter future.

"Only the leaders of Israel and the Palestinian territories can determine whether these proposals can meet the needs and aspirations of the people they represent.

"We encourage them to give these plans genuine and fair consideration, and explore whether they might prove a first step on the road back to negotiations."


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