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Israeli-Palestinian conflict: Abbas warns Israel settlement growth destroying two-state solution

Israel has accused Palestinian of inciting violence that has killed 230 Palestinians and 34 Israelis since last October and swept the region. Photograph: (Getty)

WION United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY, United States Sep 23, 2016, 12.01 AM (IST)
The decades-old rivalry between the Israeli and Palestinian was visible on the floor of the UN General Assembly on Thursday as their leaders stood poles apart. 

Clashing over the Jewish settlements in the West Bank, Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas slammed the expansion as soon as he took the podium. 

Abbas told the UN that settlement growth is destroying the two-state solution. 

"What the Israeli government is doing in pursuit of its expansionist settlement plans will destroy whatever possibility is left for the two-state solution along the 1967 borders," Abbas warned.

Abbas said the settlements are illegal in all aspects and that the Palestinians were working to "exert all efforts" with Arab and other "friendly countries" to get the UN Security Council to adopt a resolution on settlements and the "terror of the settlers."

He urged the Assembly to recognise Palestine as a state. "Those who believe in the two-state solution should recognise both states and not just one of them," Abbas said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu directly contradict Abbas.

"This conflict has never been about the settlements or about establishing a Palestinian state," said Netanyahu.

"It's always been about the existence of a Jewish state, a Jewish state in any boundary," he added.

Netanyahu said that Haifa, Jaffa and Tel Aviv, all cities in Israel, were "the real settlements they are after."

Israel has accused Palestinian of inciting violence that has killed 230 Palestinians and 34 Israelis since last October and swept the region. 

"We extend our hands to those who want to build peace," said Abbas, albeit slamming Israeli attitudes.

"It is Israel's breach of the agreements it has signed and its failure to comply with the obligations that have led us to the deadlock and stalemate that we remain in now."

Netanyahu strongly criticised the United Nations for showing anti-Israeli bias. But conceded that the issue of settlements in the West Bank was "real," and it "can and must be resolved in final negotiations."

Last year the United Nations raised for the first time the Palestinian flag -- a symbolic gesture supported by the majority of UN members after the latest US peace initiative collapsed in 2014.

Palestine is not a full UN member state, though it has observer status.

Israel's announcement of constructing 463 homes for Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank in August was a cause of concern internationally. 

A recent report by the diplomatic Quartet -- the European Union, Russia, the UN and the United States -- said construction of settlements on land earmarked to be part of a future Palestinian state is eroding the possibility of a two-state solution.

(WION with inputs from agencies)
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