Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas ruled out the United States as a broker for peace with Israel on Tuesday, calling 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.
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.
Abbas outlined the Palestinian vision for peace, insisting “we are ready to begin negotiations immediately,” but stressing that it has become “impossible for one country alone to solve a regional or international conflict.”
He said the peace conference should include the Israelis and Palestinians and key regional and international governments, noting that 74 countries attended a Mideast peace conference in Paris in January 2017.
“Israel is acting as a State above the law. It has transformed the occupation from a temporary situation … into a situation of permanent settlement colonization,” Abbas said.“How can this happen? Israel shut the door on the two-state solution on the basis of the 1967 borders.”
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. And he called President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital a “dangerous” action, which ignores that “East Jerusalem is part of the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967” and must be the capital of a Palestinian state
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 Abbas of “once again running away” and refusing to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for 7 1/2 years “to negotiate peace.”
Instead, he told council members that the Palestinian president has been coming to the United Nations “expecting you to deliver the results.”
“It’s not going to work that way,” he said. “The only way to move forward is to have direct negotiations between Israel and Palestinians.”
Danon sharply criticized Abbas’ “hateful language” toward Jews and Israel which he said has inspired “a culture of hate in Palestinian society.” He also criticized Palestinian leaders for spending hundreds of millions of dollars on weapons and tunnels instead of on improving the lives of their people.
“Mr. Abbas, you have made it clear with your words and with your actions that you are no longer part of the solution. You are the problem,” Danon said.
Though Kushner and Greenblatt didn’t meet Abbas, they did meet informally behind closed doors with Security Council members.