LONDON: The leader of the UK’s opposition Jeremy Corbyn has slammed Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s “contradictory” stance on the Middle East peace plan revealed by US President Donald Trump last month.
The outgoing Labour Party leader tweeted on Monday a letter sent to him earlier this month from Johnson in which the prime minister said the plan should be given “genuine and fair consideration.”
In the days after the deal was announced in January, Johnson backed the plan, saying during a call with Trump that it “could prove a positive step forward” in the Israeli-Palestinian issue and benefit the wider region.
But in his response to a letter from Corbyn, which raised concerns about the plan immediately after its unveiling, Johnson said the UK government’s position on the conflict remained unchanged.
Despite Trump’s plan allowing Israeli annexation of key parts of the West Bank, including the Jordan Valley, Johnson wrote: “The UK’s position on Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank is clear and has not changed. These settlements are illegal under international law, present an obstacle to peace, and threaten the physical viability of a two-state solution.”
Part of Trump’s policy on Palestine included pulling funding last year for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
The right of return for refugees expelled during the creation of Israel in 1948, as well as during the conflicts since, would also be denied.
But Johnson said the UK would continue to fund UNRWA, and London would remain committed to a “just, fair, agreed and realistic” approach to the two-state solution, with Jerusalem as a shared capital.
In his tweet, Corbyn said Johnson’s stance on the deal “flew in the face of reality.” Corbyn added: “Palestinians unanimously rejected the plan, and Johnson’s letter shows the UK government’s own positions contradict it. So the PM can’t seriously claim Trump’s plan offers a route to genuine peace talks.”
The plan was rejected by Palestinians, the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. It was also heavily criticized by the EU and the international community.