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AFP
September 27, 2020

‘Israel destroying last opportunity for peaceful settlement’

World

AFP
September 27, 2020

UNITED NATIONS: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has said that Israel is destroying its last chance for a peaceful settlement by pushing forward with the US-devised “deal of the century,” a plot that unilaterally grants Israel much of the occupied West Bank.

Addressing the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly late on Friday, Abbas said the so-called plan would effectively annex 33 percent of Palestinian land, a clear violation of previous international accords.

“The Palestinian nation will continue with its endurance and resistance, will never surrender and will eventually be victorious,” Abbas said.

The Palestinian president called on UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to launch an international conference that can make way for “a genuine peace process” early next year.

“Until when should the cause of the Palestinian people remain without a fair resolution? A solution should be conceived on the basis of international regulations.”

“Security, peace, stability and coexistence are not possible under occupation,” he added.

Abbas appealed to the United Nations for an international conference on the Middle East in 2021, hoping for a new start after US elections and the milestone of Gulf Arabs’ recognition of Israel.

In an address to the General Assembly, Abbas asked Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to convene the meeting on the Palestinian issue “early next year” and bring in “all relevant parties.”

“The conference should have full authority to launch a genuine peace process based on international law,” Abbas told the virtual General Assembly in a recorded address.

“It should aim to end the occupation and grant the Palestinian people their freedom and independence in their own state along the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital and settle final-status issues, notably the refugee question,” he said.

Abbas made his appeal amid concerns among Palestinians of dwindling support in the Arab world for their decades-long campaign for an independent state.

The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain earlier this month agreed to recognise Israel, a major coup for the Jewish state and diplomatic win for US President Donald Trump. The two Arab states, while saying they still support a Palestinian state, share the concerns of Israel and the United States about neighboring Iran.

Abbas said: “It is delusional to think that the Palestinian people could be sidelined.”

“You should all know that there can be no peace, no security, no stability or coexistence in our region without an end to the occupation and without a just and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian question,” he said.

The Palestinian Authority has refused diplomatic efforts by Trump due to his administration’s staunch advocacy of Israel.

If Trump loses in November 3 elections, the conference sought by Abbas would take place under a US president Joe Biden, who is also a supporter of Israel but has vowed to promote a two-state solution.

The Palestinians have also agreed to hold elections in early 2021 as the shock of the Gulf Arabs’ moves sparks new talks of reconciliation between Abbas’ Fatah movement and Hamas, the Islamist militant group that runs the Gaza Strip.

Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, said the 84-year-old Abbas’ speech “showed more than anything else that his time is up.”