Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas rejected US President Donald Trump’s peace plan on Tuesday during a meeting of the UN Security Council, but withheld a resolution urging the UN’s rejection of it.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres opened the Security Council meeting saying increased instability in Yemen, Syria and Libya “underscores a need for a political solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which has lasted far too long and which remains crucial for sustainable peace in the Middle East.”
Saying he endorses a “two-state solution,” Guterres urged Palestinians and Israelis to reach an agreement “which the international community can support.”
Nickolay Mladenov, the UN’s special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, gave an update on reaction to the Trump plan, noting opposition from Abbas, the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
Although he said the plan received support from Israel’s government, Mladenov added that the EU high representative said Trump’s plan “departs from international agreed parameters,” while African Union member states “also rejected the proposal at their recent summit.”
Abbas later addressed the Security Council, saying Trump’s plan “violates UN resolutions” and annuls the Palestinians’ right to self-determination while legitimizing illegal Israeli settlements and the illegal annexation of occupied Palestinian land.
The Palestinian leader held up a map of the US proposal for a fragmented Palestinian state and said: “It’s like a Swiss cheese really.”
Abbas urged the international community to reject “an Israeli-American pre-emptive plan in order to put an end to the question of Palestine.”
He called for the convening of an international conference “to bring real peace between the Palestinians and Israel.”
A resolution was expected to have been introduced denouncing the plan, but that did not happen, leading observers to speculate that the Palestinians did not believe they could get past an almost certain US veto.
The failure to introduce a resolution prompted a positive reaction from the White House. A senior US official, who asked not to be identified, called the anticipated resolution “polarizing” and said “the old ways of doing things is over” at the UN.
“For the first time on the Israeli-Palestinian issue, the (Security) Council was willing to think outside the conventional box and not reflexively fall back on the calcified Palestinian position, which has only allowed the failed status quo to continue,” the White House official said.
“We’re optimistic that countries are keeping an open mind with regard to our Vision for Peace, and are willing to have an honest and open discussion on it as a possible basis to restart negotiations for a realistic two-state solution,” the official added.
“As we’ve said all along, our plan is the start of a process, not the end. We hope the Palestinians will take advantage of the opportunity to move the ball forward.”