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Palestinians Insist on Int’l Conference amid Criticism by Israel, US

Palestinians Insist on Int’l Conference amid Criticism by Israel, US

Tuesday, 27 October, 2020 - 10:15
US Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft. (AP)

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki called on United Nations Security Council members to respond to President Mahmoud Abbas’ call to “hold an international conference,” saying it is the “last attempt to prove our commitment to peace on the basis of pluralism, not unilateralism.”

In parallel, Washington and Israel have criticized the UN’s approach to Middle East peace over the past 60 years. US representative to the UN General Assembly, Kelly Craft, considered that the approach has “failed the Israeli and Palestinian peoples.”

Under the Russian presidency for the current month, the Security Council held its monthly session on Monday to discuss the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian issue.

The session began with a briefing by United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nikolay Mladenov, who expressed his concern about the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic among Palestinians and Israelis alike, highlighting of “the long-term damage to the Palestinian economy and social cohesion” in Gaza.

He also reminded of the call of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for a global ceasefire.

“The two-state solution must be implemented because we need to move forward on the road to peace,” Mladenov stated.

He added that the Israeli authorities have allowed the building of 5,000 settlement units in the West Bank, which “portends a great danger.”

These settlements “impede the continuity of the Palestinian state”, in addition to being “illegal under international law…and undermine the two-state solution.”

Mladenov welcomed the reconciliation efforts between Fatah and Hamas, including “the agreement to hold legislative and presidential elections with a proportional representation system.”

Al-Maliki, for his part, focused on Abbas’ call for a UN-led international conference “with the participation of all concerned parties early next year, to engage in a real peace process based on international law, UN resolutions and the approved terms of reference.”

This call is “a final attempt to prove our commitment to peace on the basis of inclusion, not exclusion, legitimacy, not illegitimacy, negotiations, not dictations, and pluralism, not unilateralism,” he emphasized.

Israeli representative to the UN, Gilad Erdan, said that the Security Council “focused only on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict while ignoring the recent peace agreements signed by Israel.” He added that the Council’s speech “has not changed for decades, knowing that the Middle East has changed, so did the threats to the region’s stability.”

Craft, for her part, urged the Security Council members to shed their “decades-old approaches” to Middle East peace and reconsider President Donald Trump’s proposal. 

“We encourage our regional partners and the members of this body to thoughtfully consider the United States Vision for Peace and to play a constructive role in encouraging direct negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians on its basis,” she stated.

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