Save the two-state solution, recognize Palestine, Abbas says

The UN annually marks Palestinian solidarity on the anniversary of the 1947 vote to partition territory under Resolution 181.

 Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas gestures during a joint press conference with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken (not pictured), in the West Bank city of Ramallah, May 25, 2021. (photo credit: ALEX BRANDON/POOL VIA REUTERS)
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas gestures during a joint press conference with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken (not pictured), in the West Bank city of Ramallah, May 25, 2021.

The international community must recognize Palestinian statehood, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said as he urged the international community to save the peace process and prevent a one-state reality.

“We call on all states that believe in a two-state solution and who have recognized Israel, to also recognize the state of Palestine,” he said in a speech that was read out on his behalf at the United Nations General Assembly by the PA’s envoy to that body, Riyad Mansour.

He read Abbas’s speech at a special UNGA annual event to mark the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, which the UN has observed since 1977.

The date of November 29 was deliberately chosen for this event because it is the anniversary of the 1947 UN vote on Resolution 181 to partition territory that had been part of the British Mandate Palestine. The resolution allocated part of that territory for a Jewish state and the remainder for an Arab one. The Jewish people accepted the plan, but the Arabs rejected it and attacked the nascent Jewish state.

For over four decades, however, the international community has transformed that anniversary into a global call for Palestinian statehood.

This Week in History: The UN Partition Plan announced (credit: ARCHIVE)This Week in History: The UN Partition Plan announced (credit: ARCHIVE)

Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan held a demonstration outside the building during the time of the event, along with the World Jewish Congress.

“The UN has the audacity to hold a solidarity event for the Palestinians on the anniversary of the Palestinians own decision to choose violence,” Erdan said.

“The Palestinians and the Arab countries not only attacked Israel, the Jewish state they [the Arabs] persecuted, massacred and ultimately expelled the Jewish communities in their own countries; shockingly this atrocity is completely ignored by the UN,” Erdan said.

Organizers of the event placed large billboards on trucks, with photos of the Jewish refugees and statements such as “Don’t ignore our story” and “don’t erase Jewish history.”

The UNGA’s Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People said that the day was “an opportunity for the international community to focus its attention on the fact that the people of #Palestine are yet to obtain the right to self-determination.”

Some 138 countries have recognized Palestine as a state, but the PA has yet to achieve the support of most Western and European states. They prefer to confer statehood recognition as part of the completion of a peace process for a two-state resolution to the conflict.

The UN has also not recognized it as a member state, a move that would need UN Security Council approval. The US, which has veto power at the UNSC has opposed such a move. In 2012, the UNGA granted the PA the status of a nonmember state at the UN.

This year’s UN solidarity event for the Palestinians took place in the absence of a peace process and with an Israeli government that is split on support for a two-state resolution. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett opposes the creation of a Palestinian state.

“Israel’s blatant rejection of the two-state solution and its insistence to entrench its occupation rather than ending it – combined with the policy of waiting for parties to be ready for dialogue and achievement of peace – means in practical terms allowing Israel to finalize annexation through its illegal actions and alteration of the facts on the ground,” Abbas said in his speech on Monday.

These Israeli actions, Abbas said, have made the situation more complex and “the possibility of achieving the two-state solution more remote if not impossible,” he said.

“We have to choose between a two-state solution in accordance with UN resolutions or a one-state solution for all, as we cannot tolerate occupation forever,” Abbas said, adding, that the conflict had reached “a defining moment.”

Abbas called for the Quartet – made up of the UN, the European Union, the US and Russia – to broker a two-state solution. Traditionally, the US has been the sole broker of such a process, but the PA in recent years has sought to replace the US with the Quartet as the broker for the peace process.

In a statement he delivered prior to Monday’s UNGA meeting, UN Secretary-General António Guterres accused Israel of thwarting any possibility of a two-state resolution.

“Persistent violations of the rights of Palestinians along with the expansion of settlements risk eroding the prospect of a two-state solution,” said Guterres.

Meetings between Israeli and Palestinian officials in recent months had been “encouraging” but that more needed to be done to achieve a two-state resolution to the conflict based on the pre-1967 lines, he explained.

“I call on the parties to avoid unilateral steps that would undermine the chances for a peaceful resolution of the conflict based on international law and relevant United Nations resolutions,” Guterres said.

“Together, let us reaffirm our unwavering commitment to the Palestinian people in their quest to achieve their inalienable rights and build a future of peace, justice, security and dignity for both Palestinians and Israelis,” he added.