Palestinians, France discuss peace conference

AbbasRAMALLAH, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced Saturday that Palestinian leadership is coordinating with France to convene an international peace conference with Israel, with the support of Arab states.

Abbas said during a meeting with journalists in the West Bank city of Ramallah that the move aims at “establishing a mechanism to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and implementing the Arab peace initiative.”

The Arab peace initiative, adopted at an Arab summit in Beirut in March 2002, says Arab countries will normalize relations with Israel if the Jewish state withdraws from Arab territories taken in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and an independent Palestinian state is established with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Abbas also announced that after consultation with the Council of Arab Ministries of Foreign Affairs, the Palestinian leadership will go to the UN Security Council “to stop settlement expansion over the Palestinian land, as well as to provide international protection for the Palestinian people from Israel’s ongoing attacks, especially by the settlers.”

He stressed that “an independent Palestinian state with its capital in East Jerusalem, on the borders of 1967, would come true, and we will stay on our land, regardless of the magnitude of the challenges.”

Abbas reiterated that he will not accept any signed agreements with the Israeli side if Israel continues to ignore the agreements, and will not accept any temporary solutions which do not meet Palestinian legitimate rights.

Throughout 2015, there were no serious actions to resume the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, which had been stalled since 2014. The talks lasted for nine months under the U.S. sponsorship, but it failed in early 2014, due to deep differences between over borders and settlement.

The last four months witnessed the outbreak of violence between Israel and the Palestinians. More than 100 Palestinians were killed and thousands injured in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, while dozens of Israelis were killed in a series of shooting, stabbing and cars ramming attacks carried out by Palestinian youths.

Palestinian factions, opposing the peace process, call the wave an “Intifada” or uprising, while the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) calls it a “Popular Blast” and holds Israel responsible for it.

In his first meeting with journalists in 2016, Abbas stressed the need to form a national unity government with the participation of all factions, including the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), and to hold the general elections three months after the establishment of the new government.

He stressed readiness to meet Hamas for reconciliation and ending the internal division since 2007 when Hamas movement violently seized control of the coastal enclave.

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