Palestine calls for peace

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas ruled out the United States as a broker for peace with Israel on Tuesday, calling for an international peace conference by mid-2018 with the key goals of full U.N. membership for the state of Palestine and a timeframe for a two-state solution.

Abbas spoke as the Trump administration's two key Mideast negotiators who are working on a U.S. peace proposal — the president's son-in-law Jared Kushner and special representative Jason Greenblatt — sat in the Security Council chamber listening. But he left without speaking to them or listening to U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley say that "the United States stands ready to work with the Palestinian leadership," and the two envoys are "ready to talk."

The Palestinians are furious at President Donald Trump for overturning decades of U.S. policy and recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital, ignoring that east Jerusalem is Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since the 1967 war that the Palestinians want as the capital of their independent state. Abbas called Trump's pro-Israeli action "dangerous" and has said the president's action destroyed his credibility as a Mideast peace broker.

"It has become impossible today for one country alone to solve a regional or international conflict without the participation of other international partners," the Palestinian leader said.

Abbas presented the Palestinians "peace plan" to the council. It calls for mutual recognition by the states of Israel and Palestine based on 1967 borders, and formation of "an international multilateral mechanism" to assist the two parties in resolving all final status issues and implementing them "within a set time frame."

He said the peace conference should include the Israelis and Palestinians, the five permanent Security Council members and key regional and international governments, noting that 74 countries attended a Mideast peace conference in Paris in January 2017.

The Palestinians want to set up a state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, lands Israel captured in the 1967 war. But there have been no serious negotiations since gaps widened following the 2009 election of Benjamin Netanyahu as Israel's prime minister. He rejects the 1967 frontier as a baseline for border talks, has expanded settlements which the U.N. call illegal, and rules out a partition of Jerusalem.

Abbas accused Israel of "acting as a State above the law."

"It has transformed the occupation from a temporary situation ... into a situation of permanent settlement colonization," he said. "How can this happen? Israel shut the door on the two-state solution on the basis of the 1967 borders."

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