29, January 2018
Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas calls on African states to join a multilateral mechanism to discuss the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, after spurning any US role in such negotiations.
“Pursuing peace efforts requires the establishment of a multilateral mechanism under the umbrella of the United Nations. We call on the African Union and its member states to have representatives in this mechanism,” he told an African Union meeting in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa on Sunday.
Palestinians have long been complaining of US bias towards Israel. The last straw, however, came last month after US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem al-Quds as the so-called capital of Israel.
Trump’s decision triggered an international outcry, and more than 120 countries voted at the UN Security Council to call on Washington to withdraw its declaration.
The move also infuriated Palestinian Authority leaders, who feel deceived by Trump after being assured of Washington’s support for their demands.
Palestinians have historically sought East al-Quds as the capital of their future independent state.
“We do not accept any role of the United States in the political process from now on, because it is completely biased towards Israel,” Abbas said after Trump’s announcement.
The Palestinian Authority president then sent delegations to China and Russia to ask them to take a greater role in the Middle East negotiation process.
In his address to the African Union on Sunday, Abbas said such a mechanism should be based on the realities of the 1967 borders and “the end of the Israeli occupation of the land of the State of Palestine, including East Jerusalem.”
Israel has been building hundreds of illegal settlements on the occupied territories in the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds, with the aim of gradually annexing them.
All talks with the aim of putting an end to the conflict have foundered so far because of Israel’s refusal to stop its settlement expansion as demanded by the international community.
On Sunday, Abbas said Palestinians would be opening a future Palestinian state “to all of the heavenly religions, Islam, Christianity, and Judaism to practice their rituals and prayers in peace and security.”
His remarks to the African Union came only days after he met with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini in Brussels to urge the European Union to join the “peace” efforts.
“We are keen on continuing the way of negotiations,” the Palestinian Authority president said there. Abbas also said the EU had assured him that it supported the bid to have East al-Quds as the Palestinian capital.