By Laith al-Junaidi
DEAD SEA, Jordan (AA) – Thousands of people demonstrated on Friday in Jordan’s western Dead Sea region against the so-called “Deal of the Century”, a backchannel U.S. Middle East peace plan, the terms of which have yet to be publicized.
Organized by the Islamic Movement (affiliated with Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood), the rally was held in the Sweimeh area adjacent to the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
Protesters chanted slogans in support of Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque and condemned recent incursions into the mosque compound by Jewish settlers and Israeli officials.
Demonstrators also demanded the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes in historical Palestine, from which they were driven in 1948 to make way for the new state of Israel.
Since taking office in early 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump has been formulating the plan, along with senior adviser (and son-in-law) Jared Kushner and special Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt.
According to past statements by U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, the scheme would give Israel parts of the West Bank which are considered “occupied territory” under international law.
The Trump administration has already made several decisions seemingly inimical to Arab and Palestinian interests.
These include cutting aid to the UN’s agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA); unilaterally recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital; closing the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Washington office; and acknowledging Israel’s right to the occupied Syrian Golan Heights.
Kushner has said that the administration’s “unconventional approach” to the dispute would address the need to improve the lives of Palestinians while also taking Israel’s security concerns into consideration.
The Cairo-based Arab League, for its part, has rejected the plan, saying peace cannot be achieved without first guaranteeing Palestinians’ legitimate territorial rights.