Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas went to the United Nations Tuesday to protest President Donald Trump’s peace proposal for the Palestinians and Israel.
In an impassioned 35-minute speech to a packed Security Council chamber, the Palestinian leader urged the international community to reject the Trump plan.
“This plan, or any part in this plan, should not be considered as an international reference for negotiations,” Abbas said. “This is an Israeli-American preemptive plan in order to put an end to the question of Palestine.”
The Palestinians have rejected the deal, which they see as heavily favored toward Israel and not giving them a sovereign, contiguous state with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Abbas said the U.S. can no longer be the sole Mideast mediator and called for an international conference that would revive the dormant Middle East Quartet made up of the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations.
But despite his anger, he did not rule out negotiations with Israel based on previous internationally agreed parameters.
“In this historic moment, I would like to extend my hand for peace again, before we waste this final opportunity, and I hope to find a real partner in Israel,” Abbas said.
Israel’s U.N. envoy Danny Danon accused Abbas of paying “lip service” to peace talks, saying if he was serious about negotiating he would be in Jerusalem or Washington, not at the United Nations. He then called on Abbas to step down.
“Let’s not beat around bush: progress toward peace will not be made as long as President Abbas remains in his position; this is the reality,” Danon said. “Only when he steps down, can Israel and the Palestinians move forward.”
The U.S. ambassador, Kelly Craft, defended President Trump’s peace plan as “realistic and implementable” and said it is an “opening offer” and not set in stone.
The U.S. plan is more than a path to Palestinian independence, it is a blueprint for the construction of a flourishing Palestinian state.”
Other council members were not as certain. Several expressed concerns that internationally agreed parameters were being set aside and unilateral actions set in motion.