Palestine president calls for Middle East 'peace' conference

Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas on Tuesday called for the convening of an worldwide conference by mid-2018 to pave the way for recognition of Palestinian statehood as part of a wider Middle East peace process.

The gathering should lead to full United Nations membership for the state of Palestine, mutual recognition of Israel and Palestine, and the creation of a new global mechanism to reach a final settlement, he said.

President Donald Trump's decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem infuriated the Palestinians who declared that the United States could no longer play a role as lead mediator in the Middle East peace process.

"We come here before your august council in the midst of the deadlock of the peace process due to the USA decision regarding Jerusalem", he told the 15-nation council.

"It has transformed the occupation from a temporary situation. into a situation of permanent settlement colonization", he said.

US President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, and US Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt sat behind Haley at the Security Council meeting.

Palestine Liberation Organization Secretary General Saeb Erekat recently told Nikki Haley, our USA ambassador to the United Nations, that she "needs to shut up and realize the Palestinian leadership is not the problem". "Our negotiators are sitting right behind me ready to talk, but we will not chase after you", she said, referring to Kushner and Greenblatt.

"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".

"The European Union has requested clarifications from Israeli authorities and conveyed the expectation that they reconsider these decisions, which are detrimental to ongoing efforts towards meaningful peace talks", the European Union's foreign service said in a statement.

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Israeli Ambassador Danny Danon will also address the council.

Haley said the administration "stands ready" to work with the Palestinian leadership.

Meanwhile, Nabil Abu Rudeina, spokesman for the Palestinian presidency, said that the Palestinians have begun a new phase of the struggle that would define the region's features in the near future.

Mr Abbas previously called the declaration the "slap of the century", saying the Palestinians would no longer accept USA mediation.

The Israeli-Palestinian peace process has been deadlocked since a major push by the administration of Mr Trump's predecessor Barack Obama ended in failure in April 2014.

The United States' role as a broker in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process has come under fire following the decision.

The U.N. 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".

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, Haley said.

In some sense, the response to Abbas's remarks reflects the degree to which USA relations with the Palestinians have deteriorated since Trump announced his decision to recognize Jerusalem.


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