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Abbas rejects U.S. peace plan at U.N. Security Council meeting

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Abbas rejects U.S. peace plan at U.N. Security Council meeting
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas raises a poster that shows change in Palestinian territory  in an address Tuesday to the U.N. Security Council at U.N. headquarters in New York City. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 11 (UPI) -- Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday that although he rejects the United States' proposed Mideast peace plan, he's willing to negotiate with Israel under certain circumstances.

Abbas reiterated his criticisms of the Trump administration plan, which proposes separate Israeli and Palestinian states and allows Israel to annex territory in the West Bank it occupied after the 1967 Six-Day War. The Palestinians and the United Nations consider the occupation, and the building of Jewish settlements there, to be illegal, and Palestinians have long demanded that any future state be mapped out along pre-1967 lines with Jerusalem as its capital.

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Palestinian leaders also rejected the plan because they weren't involved in drawing up the proposal.

"I came to all of you today to affirm the Palestinian position which rejects the American-Israeli deal," Abbas told the council Tuesday at U.N. headquarters in New York City.

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"It legalized what is illegal: settlement building and confiscation and annexation of Palestinian lands," he added. "I affirm, here, that it is necessary that this deal or any part of it not be considered an international reference for negations."

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At an emergency meeting of Arab League foreign ministers in Cairo this month, Abbas announced plans to cut ties with the United States and Israel and the league unanimously adopted a resolution rejected the peace plan. The Arab League's closing statement said the U.S. plan contradicts peace process principles and U.N. resolutions.

Before the Security Council Tuesday, Abbas described the U.S.-Israeli vision of a future state of Palestine as "Swiss cheese" because it "transforms our homeland into fragmented residential encampments."

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"This deal carries within it dictates, reinforcement of the occupation, annexation by military force and anchoring of an apartheid system," he said.

Abbas did say he would welcome negotiations with the Quartet, a group including the United States, Russia, United Nations and the European Union.

"I am serious about what I say. I am prepared to stay here in the headquarters of international legitimacy to begin these negotiations immediately," he said.

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U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres noted a growing tension and re-escalation of violence in the Middle East in recent months.

"This volatile context only underscores the need for a political solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which has lasted for far too long, and which remains crucial to sustainable peace in the Middle East," he said. "I reiterate my full personal commitment -- and the commitment of the United Nations -- to supporting the parties in their efforts to achieve a two-state solution."

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