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23 February 2018, 04:25 | Floyd Cook
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In a rare address to the UN Security Council, Abbas presented what he called a "peace plan" to revive the comatose Israeli-Palestinian talks with a new global mediation - in which the United States would play less of a predominant role, news agencies reported.
He called on the Security Council to take the president's initiative seriously and discuss it and start actual steps on the ground for implementation, pointing out that the Palestinian leadership wants a peace process that ends the occupation within a fixed timeframe, in addition to accepting Palestine as a full member of the UN. Ironically, Abbas didn't get the chance, because the U.S. negotiators were ferried behind closed doors immediately after to take questions from the UN Security Council members.
Palestine has been upset ever since United States President Donald Trumprecognised Jerusalem as the Israeli Capital in December 2017. The situation has only worsened since, with Trump sanctioning and condemning the Palestinians repeatedly.
US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley was not impressed.
"Our negotiators are sitting right behind me, ready to talk".
The Palestinian leader immediately left the council chamber following his address, leaving Israeli Ambassador Danny Danon to complain that he was once again "running away" from dialogue. "The choice, Mr. President, is yours", said Haley, referring to Trump's son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner, and U.S. Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt.
The Israeli-Palestinian peace process has been deadlocked since a major push by the administration of Trump's predecessor Barack Obama ended in failure in April 2014.
The Trump administration is preparing a new peace plan even though chances for agreement appear dim.
French U.N. Ambassador Francois Delattre said Paris was open to studying Abbas' suggestions.
But following Trump's decision, the Palestinians no longer view the United States as a neutral negotiator.
The Palestinians see East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state and United Nations resolutions call on countries to refrain from moving their embassies to the city until its status is resolved in an Israeli-Palestinian deal.
Tensions have also flared over the USA decision to cut funding to the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA). In his first address to the United Nations Security Council after nine years, Abbas rejected the United States' sole involvement in the negotiations.
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