Abbas to UN: Immediate action against Israel needed
Speaking on behalf of PA leader, Palestinian observer at UN tells General Assembly peace talks hindered by 'settlements, arrests of Palestinians by Israel and IDF attacks'; calls on Security Council to take immediate steps against Jewish state top reflect 'international demand for end of occupation'
The Palestinian observer at the UN, Riyad Mansour, urged the Security Council to take measures against Israel in light of what he called years of failed peace negotiations and a lack of Israeli willingness to advance a comprehensive peace agreement.
Speaking on behalf of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Monday evening, Mansour told the General Assembly that the peace talks had been hindered by the "settlements, arrests (of Palestinians by the IDF) and Israeli attacks."
In his speech, the Palestinian envoy reiterated the claim that the IDF committed war crimes during its December-January offensive in Gaza.
He went on to criticize Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government, saying it was "alienating" the Palestinians and withdrawing from "all of the commitments and agreements that we have reached with previous Israeli governments."
The UN is currently marking the historic date of November 29 1947, the day in which it approved the partition plan separating Israel into two states – Jewish and Arabic.
But while in Israel the date is celebratory, as it marks the end of the British mandate and the beginning of independent rule, the UN headquarters in New York and Geneva are holding ceremonies of mourning and solidarity with the Palestinian people.
Mansour added, "Israel's daily actions on the ground prove that it does not want to take one step towards a comprehensive agreement and is realizing its settlement scheme in the West Bank and Jerusalem in blatant violation of international law.
"Israeli is turning its back to a return to the negotiation table, which is aimed at achieving a just and comprehensive solution that will guarantee peace for all of the region's nations," he said.
"It's time that after all these years of negotiations, which did not yield any results, the international community, and particularly the Security Council, fulfill their obligations."
The Palestinian observer said the Security Council must take "immediate and determined measures that will reflect the position of the world's nations, who have repeatedly demanded a two-state solution and an end to the Israeli occupation, which began in 1967."
Mansour told the General Assembly Israel has intensified its efforts to "Judaize" Jerusalem, adding that this policy culminated with what he said were excavations under and around the Al-Aqsa Mosque and granting "Zealous Jews" permission to enter the holy site in the capital's Old City.
He said these acts may add a dangerous religious element to the conflict.
However, Mansour stressed that the Palestinians were committed to peace as a strategic choice.