Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas told the United Nations yesterday that Israel was hindering development in the Middle East with the occupation of Palestinian territories and again called for an independent state of Palestine.
Abbas spoke at a ceremony marking the handover of the chair of the Group of 77 and China from Egypt to the observer-state of Palestine, raising the Palestinians’ profile by leading the biggest UN bloc of developing countries.
“Israel’s continued colonisation and occupation of the state of Palestine undermines our development and capacity for co-operation, co-ordination and obstructs the cohesive future development of all peoples of the region,” Abbas told the gathering.
The Palestinian leader said he was committed to a “peaceful solution that brings an end to the occupation and the realisation of the independence of the state of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital, living side-by-side in peace and security with the state of Israel.”
The Palestinians reacted furiously to President Donald Trump’s decision in December 2017 to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, breaking with the international consensus that the status of the city would be decided in negotiations.
Abbas has broken off ties with the Trump administration and has vowed to oppose any US peace proposal that he has warned would be biased in favour of Israel.
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