Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas addresses the 71st United Nations General Assembly in Manhattan, New York, US September 22, 2016.
The Palestinian leadership intends to present a Security Council resolution against settlements, PA President Mahmoud Abbas told the 71st meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday.
“The settlements are illegal in every aspect and any manifestation.
Therefore, we will continue to exert all efforts for a Security Council resolution on the settlements and the terror of the settlers,” the Palestinian Authority president said, adding, “We hope no one will cast a veto.”
The United States vetoed a resolution condemning settlements in 2011.
Abbas added that the Palestinian leadership remains committed to all signed agreements with Israel, including the Oslo Accords, but said that the onus is on Israel “to recognize the state of Palestine.”
“We remain committed to the agreements reached with Israel since 1993. However, Israel must reciprocate this commitment and must act forthwith to resolve all of the final-status issues,” he said.
Abbas and a number of the other Palestinian leaders have threatened to end security cooperation with Israel, a key element of the Oslo Accords, on numerous occasions over the past year.
He also accused Israel of undertaking hostile action against Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem. “Israel continues to illegally alter the identity and status of occupied east Jerusalem, and to commit aggressions and provocations against our Christian and Muslim holy sites, especially al-Aksa Mosque,” he said. “The continuation of the Israeli aggressions against our Muslim and Christian holy sites is playing with fire.”
The Israeli government has said that it has no intention to change the status quo on the Temple Mount.
The Palestinian leader reiterated the demand he presented at the Arab League summit in July, that Britain assume responsibility for the consequences of the Balfour Declaration
“Therefore, we ask Britain, as we approach 100 years since this infamous declaration, to draw the necessary lessons and to bear its historic, legal, political, material and moral responsibilities for the consequences of this declaration, including an apology to the Palestinian people,” he remarked, saying that such an acknowledgment is the “least Great Britain can do.”
Later in his speech, the PA president called on the international community to support the French initiative to hold an international peace conference.
“We hope that all states of the world will support the convening of this international peace conference before the end of this year,” Abbas said. “If there will be no international peace conference and no direct negotiations, then how can peace be made?” Israel has vehemently opposed the French initiative, saying it prefers direct, bilateral negotiations.
Moreover, Abbas asked Israel to recognize the Nakba, the experience of the Palestinian people in light of the establishment of the State of Israel.
“Realization of a historic reconciliation between the Palestinian and Israeli peoples requires that Israel acknowledge its responsibility for the Nakba inflicted on our people to this very day,” Abbas said, suggesting that such a recognition “will open a new era of coexistence, and will serve to build bridges rather than walls.”
Concluding his speech, he stated that he hopes the international community will assume responsibility of ending Israel’s military rule over the Palestinian territories in 2017. “There is a collective responsibility upon you to ensure that 2017 is the year of ending the occupation.
Will you uphold this responsibility? It is my hope,” he said.
Abbas’s speech to the UN General Assembly comes after a weeklong trip, which included stops in Mauritania, Venezuela and New York.
According to Majdi al-Khalidi, Abbas’s diplomatic spokesman, he met with more than 50 international leaders on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
Abbas is expected to return to Ramallah later this week and will oversee a large meeting of the Fatah leadership, the dominant faction in the West Bank.
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