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Palestine president Mahmoud Abbas points finger at Netanyahu, Trump administration at UNGA

Palestine president Mahmoud Abbas. Photograph:( Reuters )

Reuters United Nations Sep 27, 2019, 05.47 PM (IST)

Speaking from the lectern at the United Nations General Assembly Thursday, the president of the Palestinians, Mahmoud Abbas, took the opportunity to dive right into Israel's ongoing political jockeying.

Abbas has appeared to see Israel's coalition drama as an opportunity for his government in the occupied West Bank to announce election plans. Abbas told reporters outside Norway's parliament that he would issue a decree for elections across the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem when he returns to the Palestinian Territories following the UN General Assembly in New York.

And he said he will not cede to an emboldened Israeli stance.

"A week before the recent Israeli elections, Israel's Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu came out to arrogantly announce that should he prevail in the elections he would annex and apply Israeli sovereignty to the Jordan Valley, Northern Dead sea and Israel's colonial settlements despite the fact that all these areas are occupied Palestinian territory," he said. "We reject entirely and completely this plan."

Despite a long rift with Gaza's Islamist rulers Hamas, Abbas said his Palestinian Authority, which exercises limited self-rule in the West Bank, would be ready to accept a Hamas victory "because Hamas is a part of our people, we cannot exclude Hamas." 

Abbas was elected president in 2005 and Hamas won a 2006 parliamentary election, plunging Palestinian politics into a bitter power struggle from which it has not emerged.

He also came out against stances backed by the US administration of Donald Trump, saying they run the risk of hardening divisions.

In referring to the decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem, Abbas said "it has jeopardized the two-state solution."

He said stances are hardening. "Now many wonder, if the two state solution has become impossible? Can we have a one state solution? Where everyone can live equally. Some are starting to wonder."

Story highlights

Abbas has appeared to see Israel's coalition drama as an opportunity for his government in the occupied West Bank to announce election plans. Abbas told reporters outside Norway's parliament that he would issue a decree for elections across the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem when he returns to the Palestinian Territories following the UN General Assembly in New York