RAMALLAH, Palestine (AA) – The Palestinian presidency on Thursday decried remarks made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu regarding the blockaded Gaza Strip.
Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for President Mahmoud Abbas, said Netanyahu’s comments -- in which he floated the possibility of “handing over” responsibility for the strip to an Arab country -- “reveal the magnitude of the conspiracy referred to as the ‘Deal of the Century’”.
The so-called “Deal of the Century” is a backchannel Mideast peace plan currently being formulated by the U.S. administration, details of which have yet to be publicized.
If implemented, Abu Rudeineh asserted, the U.S. peace plan “will be as much a conspiracy against the Arab countries as it is against Palestine”.
“President Abbas has consistently warned against this,” he added, “hence his refusal to relinquish Jerusalem, which is the cornerstone that will safeguard Palestinian and Arab national interests.”
Abu Rudeineh went on to urge Hamas, which has governed the Gaza Strip since 2007, “to fully comprehend what is being planned for it”.
The U.S. peace plan, he warned, “will lead to the Judaization of Jerusalem, the termination of the Palestinian cause and the loss of freedom and independence”.
The spokesman added: “The position of the Palestinian leadership has always been that there will not be a [Palestinian] state in Gaza -- nor a state without Gaza -- and no state without Jerusalem.”
Speaking to The Jerusalem Post earlier Thursday, Netanyahu warned that Israel could reoccupy Gaza -- from which it withdrew in 2005 -- as a “last option”.
“All the options are still on the table, including entering Gaza and occupying it,” he was quoted as saying.
Another option, Netanyahu said, would be to hand responsibility for the blockaded enclave -- along with its roughly two million inhabitants -- over to another country.
“I have spoken with many Arab leaders about this possibility… [but] no one wanted to do this,” he was quoted as saying.