Dozens in Lebanon protest Trump's Mideast plan

AFP , Sunday 2 Feb 2020

Lebanese demonstrators wave the Palestinian flag and leftist flags during a demonstration against the US peace plan proposal, near the US embassy in Awkar, northeast of the capital Beirut on February 2, 2020 AFP

Dozens protested near the US embassy in Lebanon Sunday against US President Donald Trump's Middle East plan.

The demonstrators, both Palestinian refugees and Lebanese, chanted slogans and flew flags as security forces blocked off a road to the diplomatic compound.

Some protesters tried to dismantle a razor-wire barrier but no major clashes took place, an AFP reporter said.

"The 'deal of the century' shall not pass," read a huge banner in the colours of the Palestinian flag, referring to the plan unveiled by Trump last Tuesday.

A call to protest circulating on social media dubbed the plan "the deal of shame".

"I came here to defend my rights and those of my children as Palestinians," said Etab, a Palestinian refugee living in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley.

"We will not accept handing over our land," she told AFP.

Palestinians began taking refuge in Lebanon with the creation of Israel in 1948, setting up camps that have since transformed into bustling urban districts.

Abdullah Mahmud, an 18-year-old Palestinian, criticised the "failed" plan.

"It won't pass as long as the Palestinian people are still standing," he said.

Around 174,000 Palestinian refugees live in 12 camps across Lebanon, a one-off government census said in 2017.

They face tough living conditions and are barred from certain jobs.

"The right to return is an individual and collective right," another protest sign read.

Trump's vision would end any hope of returning for Palestinians who fled their land in 1948 or their descendants.

But it would allegedly integrate some Palestinian refugees -- the number to be approved by Israel -- into a future Palestinian state.

Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas severed ties with the Trump administration in December 2017 after the United States recognised the disputed city of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

He announced Saturday a cut of all ties with Israel and the United States, including security cooperation, in response to the peace plan.

Israel has welcomed the proposal, which grants the Jewish state full control of Jerusalem and allows it to annex the Jordan Valley and settlements dotting Palestinian territory.

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