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The reaction to Donald Trump’s plan for peace in the Middle East has been muted among U.S. allies in the Arab world, but America’s critics aren't pulling any punches.
“The so-called ‘Vision for Peace' is simply the dream project of a bankruptcy-ridden real estate developer,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Twitter Wednesday morning. “But it is a nightmare for the region and the world. And, hopefully, a wake-up call for all the Muslims who have been barking up the wrong tree.”
Zarif’s reaction echoed those of Palestine’s leaders on Tuesday after Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu unveiled the plan at the White House.
"This conspiracy deal will not pass, our people will take it to the dustbin of history,” Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said after a meeting of various Palestinian factions including Islamist group Hamas, which pledged to "resist the deal in all its forms.”
Trump’s plan would see Jerusalem remain Israel's “undivided” capital, while a new Palestinian capital would “include areas of East Jerusalem,” he said. Palestinian leaders have long fought back against giving the city over to Israel.
“Jerusalem is not for sale,” Abbas responded. “We say a thousand times: No, no and no to the deal of the century.”
Turkey joined Palestine and Iran in condemning the plan, with the Turkey foreign ministry calling it “stillborn.”
The agreement "is an annexation plan aiming at usurping Palestinian lands and killing the two-state solution," the ministry said in an official statement.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan backed up his ministry’s criticism on Wednesday, telling reporters that it was “a plan to ignore the rights of the Palestinians and legitimize Israel's occupation.”
Protesters in Gaza burned pictures of Trump and Netanyahu on Tuesday, and protests against the deal continued on Wednesday.
While there was some lukewarm support for the deal among U.S. allies in the Middle East, there was no full-throated support.
In a statement posted on Twitter, Saudi Arabia said it “appreciates” the efforts of the Trump administration and “encourages the start of direct peace negotiations between Palestinian and Israeli sides, under the auspices of the United States.”
Qatar said it welcomed efforts to broker "longstanding and just peace," but warned that it was unattainable without concessions to the Palestinians.
The United Arab Emirates described the plan as “a serious initiative,” while Egypt warned that “a careful and thorough examination of the U.S. vision” was needed.
Bahrain uttered similar sentiments after Trump took the time to personally thank the Bahraini ambassador for attending his big reveal on Tuesday. He also thanked Oman and UAE for sending their ambassadors, pointing out that no Palestinian representative was present.
In the West, the U.K. has backed the deal. When pushed to condemn the deal by opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn, Prime Minister Boris Johnson told parliament on Wednesday that “no peace plan is perfect, but this has the merit of a two-state solution. It would ensure Jerusalem is both the capital of Israel and the Palestinian people.”
He urged Corbyn to stop being “so characteristically negative” and instead reach out to his “friend” Abbas and urge him to engage in the peace process.
Johnson’s defense of Trump’s plan is the most vociferous support the plan has received from a Western government so far.
France said it would “carefully study" Trump's plan, while Germany said "only a negotiated two-state solution, acceptable to both sides” would work. The EU said it would “study and assess” the plan.
Cover: Palestinian throws back tear gas canister during clashes with Israel forces as they protest Middle East peace plan announced Tuesday by US President Donald Trump, which strongly favors Israel, in Bethlehem, West Bank, Wednesday, Jan 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)