At UN, Abbas Calls to Safeguard Two-state Solution, Recognize Palestine

Palestinian president speaks at Human Rights Council, decrying talk of alternatives to two-state solution.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas addresses the 34th session of the Human Rights Council, at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Monday, Feb. 27, 2017.
Salvatore di Nolfi/AP

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas urged the international community Monday to protect the two-state solution as Israel expands settlement construction.

Addressing the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Abbas called on countries that believe in two states "to come to the defense of that solution" and recognize the state of Palestine.

"Palestine will remain the greatest test for this Council, and its success in defending human rights in Palestine will determine the sustainability of human rights across the world," he said.

Abbas said that the notion of a Palestinian state is rooted deep in the international community and that recent talk of interim agreements, one state, or a deal that would include the entire region like the Israeli government would like to, won't help achieve peace.

The two-state solution, said Abbas, "must be protected from any attempt to withdraw from it it or simply disregard it," he said.

He denounced the settlement activity and Israel's passage this month of a law meant to retroactively legalize thousands of West Bank settlement homes built unlawfully on private Palestinian land.

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

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