At UN, Abbas calls on world leaders to recognize Palestinian state
UNITED NATIONS, Feb 20 (APP): Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas Tuesday called for convening an international conference by mid-2018 that would result in the recognition of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders during a rare address to the United Nations Security Council.
“We call for the convening of an international peace conference by mid-2018, based on international law and the relevant UN resolutions,” Abbas told the 15-member Council in New York.
The Palestinians no longer view Washington as a neutral negotiator and have been calling for a collective approach to try and broker the Middle East peace.
They are angry at US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December and cut to US funding for the UN agency that helps Palestinian refugees (UNRWA).
In his well-reasoned speech, Abbas said that recognizing a Palestinian state would enhance the prospects of succeeding at negotiations with Israel, and added that the Palestinian Authority “continues to strive for recognition by the rest of the states in the world.”
The Palestinian president slammed the Trump administration, describing Washington’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital as an “unlawful decision which was rejected by the international community, to remove the issue of Jerusalem ‘off the table.'”
Abbas said that the only way to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was by establishing “a multi-lateral international mechanism emanating from an international conference and in line with international law and the relevant resolutions.”
The Palestinian leader said, “Israel is acting like a state above the law” and said the Israeli government caused the failure of all past efforts to reach peace.
Abbas said that the Palestinians had persisted in their efforts to reach peace with Israel and had engaged in dialogue.
“We are working for the occupation, we are employees of the occupation,” he said, in a reference to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank.
He stressed his commitment to non-violence, but said the Palestinians would oppose any attempt to impose a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“Israel shut the door on the two-state solution,” the Palestinian president said.
In his address to the Council, Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said, “The only way it [Israeli-Palestinian peace] is going to work is with direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians,” while strongly criticising President Abbas for avoiding talks with Israel.
Directly addressing Abbas, Danon told the Palestinian leader, “You are no longer part of the solution, you are part of the problem.”
In her address to the Council, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, the staunch Israeli supporter, told President Abbas that while Washington was ready to speak to the Palestinian leadership, “we will not chase after you.”
Although Abbas had left the room, Haley addressed him directly, telling the Palestinian leader that he “must choose between two paths”: rejecting America’s role in peace talks, or moving forward with Washington toward a negotiated compromise.
“The choice, mister president, is yours,” Haley concluded.
Jared Kushner, US President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, was sitting behind Ms Haley in the Council chamber.
Kushner was accompanied by Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s special envoy to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
Abbas has been boycotting the Trump administration ever since Washington’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December.