Palestinian leader calls for new peace process in UN speech

Full Screen
1 / 6

In this image made from UNTV video, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks in a pre-recorded message which was played during the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Friday, Sept. 25, 2020, at UN headquarters, in New York. (UNTV via AP)

JERUSALEM – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday called for an international conference early next year to launch a "genuine peace process” while criticizing the recent decision of two Arab countries to normalize relations with Israel.

Abbas seemed to acknowledge the growing international weariness with the decades-old conflict as he delivered the latest in a long series of addresses to the U.N. General Assembly.

“I wondered while preparing this statement what more could I tell you, after all that I have said in previous statements," he said in the video address from his headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

The Palestinians have rejected President Donald Trump’s proposal to end the conflict, which overwhelmingly favors Israel, and have officially cut off contacts with both the U.S. and Israel. Arguing that Washington is no longer an honest broker, they have called for a multilateral peace process based on U.N. resolutions and past agreements.

They have also rejected the decision of the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain to normalize ties with Israel, viewing it as a betrayal of the longstanding Arab consensus that recognition of Israel should only come in exchange for territorial concessions.

Israel's U.N. Ambassador, Gilad Erdan, responded with a video statement calling Abbas' speech a collection of “lies and incitement against Israel” and arguing that the Palestinian leader was “desperate” because of the agreements Israel reached with Bahrain and the UAE.

“All Abbas showed was continued Palestinian rejectionism,” Erdan said.

In his speech, Abbas said the agreements, signed at the White House earlier this month, are a “violation” of the “principles of a just and lasting solution under international law.”