Belfast Telegraph

Home News World

Calls made for international peace conference on Israel-Palestine situation

Mr Abbas called the shifting of the US embassy to Jerusalem ‘dangerous’.

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas has called for an international peace conference by mid-2018 with the key goals of full UN membership for the state of Palestine and a timeframe for a two-state solution.

Mr Abbas spoke as the Trump administration’s two key Mideast negotiators who are working on a US peace proposal — the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and special representative Jason Greenblatt — sat in the Security Council chamber listening.

But he left without speaking to them or listening to US Ambassador Nikki Haley say that “the United States stands ready to work with the Palestinian leadership,” and the two envoys are “ready to talk”.

Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon said... (Mary Altaffer/AP)

The Palestinians are furious at US president Donald Trump for overturning decades of US policy and recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, ignoring that east Jerusalem is Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since the 1967 war that the Palestinians want as the capital of their independent state.

Mr Abbas called Trump’s pro-Israeli action “dangerous” and has said the president’s action destroyed his credibility as a Mideast peace broker.

“It has become impossible today for one country alone to solve a regional or international conflict without the participation of other international partners,” the Palestinian leader said.

Mr Abbas presented the Palestinians “peace plan” to the council which calls for mutual recognition by the states of Israel and Palestine based on 1967 borders, and formation of “an international multilateral mechanism” to assist the two parties in resolving all final status issues and implementing them “within a set time frame”.

He said the peace conference should include the Israelis and Palestinians, the five permanent Security Council members and key regional and international governments, noting that 74 countries attended a Mideast peace conference in Paris in January 2017.

The Palestinians want to set up a state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, lands Israel captured in the 1967 war.

But there have been no serious negotiations since gaps widened following the 2009 election of Benjamin Netanyahu as Israel’s prime minister.n

It is simply impossible to square the circle of a one-state reality with the legitimate national, historic and democratic aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians. Antonio Guterres

He rejects the 1967 frontier as a baseline for border talks, has expanded settlements which the UN call illegal, and rules out a partition of Jerusalem.

Mr Abbas accused Israel of “acting as a State above the law”.

“It has transformed the occupation from a temporary situation … into a situation of permanent settlement colonisation,” he said. “How can this happen? Israel shut the door on the two-state solution on the basis of the 1967 borders.”

The Palestinian leader added into his prepared remarks: “We are employees for the occupation.”

American Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, right, speaks to Jared Kushner during the Security Council meeting (Mary Altaffer/AP)

Mr Abbas said the principle of two-states living side-by-side with full sovereignty must be preserved, but he said the US has not clarified whether it is for a two-state or a one-state solution.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stressed that “there is no Plan B” to a two-state solution. But he warned that “after decades of support, the global consensus for a two-state solution could be eroding”.

The UN chief voiced opposition to a one-state solution saying: “It is simply impossible to square the circle of a one-state reality with the legitimate national, historic and democratic aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians.”

Mr Abbas was the last to arrive in the Security Council, and he left immediately after his speech to attend a reception hosted by the Palestinians, avoiding any direct contact with the Americans or Israelis.

Israel’s UN Ambassador Danny Danon accused Mr Abbas of “once again running away,” and refusing to meet Mr Netanyahu for seven-and-a-half years “to negotiate peace”.

Ms Haley said the US will not change its decision on December 6 to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, a move that has frozen US-Palestinian relations.

The Palestinian leadership has a choice of two paths — “absolutist demands, hateful rhetoric, and incitement to violence” which will only lead to hardship for the Palestinian people or “negotiation and compromise” that holds the promise of peace, she said.

Though Kushner and Greenblatt didn’t meet Abbas, they did meet informally behind closed doors with Security Council members.


From Belfast Telegraph