Abbas Calls on World Nations to Recognize Palestine, Save Two-state Solution

After Israel's passes law permitting the retroactive confiscation of privately-owned Palestinian land in the West Bank, Palestinian leadership refocuses efforts on recognition.

Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas gets into a car as he leaves the Elysee Palace after his meeting with France's President Francois Hollande, in Paris, France, Tuesday Feb. 7, 2017.
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas gets into a car as he leaves the Elysee Palace after his meeting with France's President Francois Hollande, in Paris, France, Tuesday Feb. 7, 2017. Credit: Kamil Zihnioglu/AP
Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called on world nations to officially recognize the state of Palestinian as soon as possible to help save the two-state solution.

Abbas, speaking from Paris, told members of the French parliament that the two-state solution requires countries who recognize Israel to also recognize Palestine.

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Dozens of countries recognized Palestinian statehood years ago and recently Palestine was also recognized by the Vatican. Most West European and North American countries never did do, although most of their lawmakers had supported recognizing Palestine within the 1967 borders.

"The step we, and especially President Abu Mazen, are taking now could rescue the two-state solution from the results of Netanyahu's and his government's conduct, which is destroying any chance of reaching a solution. Our international effort is intended to bring about a just and viable solution for Israelis in the absence of a real leadership striving for peace," Dr. Husam Zumlut, a strategic adviser to Abbas, told Haaretz.

President Francois Hollande, right, shakes hands with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas after a joint press conference at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, Tuesday Feb. 7, 2017.Credit: Kamil Zihnioglu/AP

"Recognition of Palestinian statehood first rose to the agenda in 1988 and gained a push in 2011 following the Palestinians' appeal to the United Nations Security Council and General Assembly.

"For now there is intent to appeal to all countries that have not yet recognized Palestine, to do so as a response to Israel and the Netanyahu government's conduct and there is no doubt that France is at the focus at this stage due to its position and strength in the European arena," Zumlut said.

Palestinians began stepping up diplomatic pressure of France on the issue of recognition in wake of Israel's passing into law legislation that under some circumstances legalizes the presence of West Bank Jewish settlements constructed on privately owned Palestinian land. France hosted an international peace summit last month.

"France is an important and central nation in Europe and thus it is important that it leads such an initiative, like other countries have [done in the past]. Recognizing a Palestinian state is not good just for the Palestinians, but will also save peace," a senior Palestinian official told Haaretz.

After meeting Abbas on Tuesday, French President Francois Hollande called on Israel to repeal the law. Speaking at the end of their meeting, Abbas said the new law creates an apartheid regime in the occupied territories that the international community should act to reverse.

The legislation along with announced new settlement construction constitute aggression against the Palestinian people, Abbas said.

A strategic adviser to Abbas on Tuesday said the law, called the "Regularization Law", will require the Palestinians to reconsider its set of relations with Israel and to seek international pressure on Israel, which he said is "disregarding the entire world and international law."

Abbas said the Palestinians have adopted the concluding statement of last month's Paris peace conference on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which speaks of the need to protect the two-state solution, for a freeze on settlement construction and an end of the occupation.

The international community should act to implement United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, which condemned Israel's settlement policy as illegal, the Palestinian president said.

He also called for convening an international conference to bring the parties together by the end of the year.

Abbas said the Palestinians are firm in their position that East Jerusalem must become the capital of a Palestinian state and that the transfer of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem would wreck the peace process.

The Palestinian Authority, he added, would seek to redress their grievances via the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Ramallah has said that the reports about dismantling the Palestinian Authority or stopping security coordination are not on the agenda, because coordination means the continued operation of the authority and dismantling it would only serve Netanyahu's interests.

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