UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas vehemently rejected the Trump administration’s Mideast peace plan in a speech to the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday, calling it an attempt to keep the Palestinians from having an independent state.
He called for an international conference to pursue the two-state solution demanded in numerous U.N. resolutions.
Abbas called the U.S. proposal “an Israeli-American pre-emptive plan in order to put an end to the question of Palestine.”
He told the Security Council the plan violates numerous U.N. resolutions, annuls Palestinian rights “to self-determination, freedom and independence in our own state,” and should not be considered a basis for negotiations.
“I have come to you on behalf of 13 million Palestinians to call for a just peace — that is all,” he said.
Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Danny Danon criticized Abbas’ position and told the council if Abbas really wanted peace, he should be in Jerusalem talking to President Benjamin Netanyahu — not at the United Nations.
“Only when he steps down can Israel and the Palestinians move forward,” Danon said. “A leader who chooses rejectionism, incitement and glorification of terror can never be a real partner for peace.”
Abbas minutes earlier stressed to the council: “We are fighting terrorism. We are not terrorists.”
He called on the international Quartet of Mideast mediators — the U.S., Russia, the European Union and United Nations — and the Security Council along with other countries “to hold an international conference for peace … to implement resolutions of international legitimacy.”
He said “the United States cannot be the sole mediator,” saying the Palestinians have tried this before and will not agree to do so again.
U.S. Ambassador Kelly Craft sidestepped a question about whether Abbas should be at the negotiating table.
“What we’re really supporting at the moment is having the two parties at the table together and be able to discuss how we can best facilitate this plan,” she said. “It’s a vision. It’s not a deal. It’s an opportunity, and I think today was the beginning.”
President Donald Trump unveiled the U.S. initiative for ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict Jan. 28. It envisions a disjointed Palestinian state that turns over key parts of the West Bank to Israel, siding with Israel on key contentious issues including borders and the status of Jerusalem and Jewish settlements.
Abbas held up a map of the fragmented U.S. proposal, saying “it’s like a Swiss cheese really.”
Later, he produced maps of progressively smaller proposed Palestinian states from the 1947 United Nations plan to partition Palestine at the end of the British mandate until the present map under the Trump plan.
The Palestinians seek all of the West Bank and east Jerusalem — areas captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war — for an independent state and the removal of many of the more than 700,000 Israeli settlers from these areas.
It had been expected the 15-member Security Council would vote on a resolution co-sponsored by Tunisia and Indonesia and backed by the Palestinians opposing the U.S. plan.
However, diplomats said many of its initial provisions were not acceptable to European members of the council, who support a two-state solution based on pre-1967 borders, and other council members. And it was unclear whether the resolution would receive the minimum nine “yes” votes for approval.