Palestinian president urges protection of two-state solution

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. (AP)
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. (AP)

Geneva - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday urged the international community to protect the two-state solution, in a message aimed at Israel and the new US administration of President Donald Trump.

At a White House meeting earlier this month, both Trump and the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, appeared to back away from the internationally supported idea of the establishment of an independent Palestine alongside Israel.

In an address to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Abbas called on states that believe in two states "to come to the defence of that solution" and recognise the state of Palestine.

"This solution must be protected from any attempt to withdraw from it or simply disregard it," he said.

The international community, including the US, has long supported the idea of a two-state solution as the best way to create peace between Israel and the Palestinians. In January, dozens of countries reiterated their support for this goal at an international conference in France, days before Trump took office.

But at a joint press conference with Trump on February 15, Netanyahu made no mention of the two-state solution. Instead, he talked of searching for "new ways" forward, including a regional approach involving other Arab countries.

Trump, meanwhile, said he could favour any agreement between the parties, including a single Israeli-Palestinian state, a solution that neither side favours. He also referred to a "much bigger deal" involving "many countries."

Abbas said he is ready to work in a "positive spirit" with Trump, but rejected the idea of an interim agreement or single state.

"We should no longer be speaking of integrating Palestine within a larger regional framework and that is precisely what the government of Israel is attempting to do by withdrawing from progress previously achieved," he said.

He also denounced Israel's settlement activity on occupied lands claimed by the Palestinians and Israel's passage this month of a law meant to retroactively legalise thousands of West Bank settlement homes built unlawfully on private Palestinian land.

He said the law "legitimises the theft of occupied Palestinian lands."

Abbas also cautioned against the transfer of any embassy to Jerusalem, a scenario raised by Trump.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
When a Covid-19 vaccine for under 16's becomes available, will you be taking your children to get it?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes, immediately!
38% - 3451 votes
I'll wait to see how others respond
26% - 2366 votes
No, I don't think they need it
36% - 3331 votes
Vote
ZAR/USD
15.00
(-0.52)
ZAR/GBP
20.92
(-0.45)
ZAR/EUR
18.08
(-0.22)
ZAR/AUD
11.67
(+0.07)
ZAR/JPY
0.14
(-0.21)
Gold
1710.83
(-1.45)
Silver
26.09
(-2.21)
Platinum
1180.50
(-1.21)
Brent Crude
62.54
(-1.55)
Palladium
2376.00
(+0.15)
All Share
68285.17
(-0.33)
Top 40
62825.72
(-0.44)
Financial 15
12530.27
(-0.30)
Industrial 25
89691.80
(+0.61)
Resource 10
69207.04
(-1.89)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo