Palestinians push for peace conference

abbas_electionsRAMALLAH, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Monday that the Palestinians are holding dialogue with a number of countries to pressure for holding an international conference for peace in the Middle East to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Abbas told Israeli reporters at his office in Ramallah that “the term of the current United States Administration will come to its end soon without achieving anything concerning the peace process, therefore, we are calling for holding an international conference to rescue peace in the region.”

“The Palestinian side has earlier welcomed the French declaration for holding an international conference for peace in the Middle East in order to come up with an international mechanism to solve the Palestinian issue,” Abbas told Israeli reporters.

He also noted that the Palestinian side “is determined to go to the United Nations Security Council in order to work on stopping Israeli settlement which represents a serious threat to the principle of the two-state solution that is backed by the world and also to ask for a protection to the Palestinian people.”

“In spite of this, our hands are still extended to peace and we are working on achieving it throughout peace talks that lead to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on territories occupied by Israel in 1967 with East Jerusalem as its capital,” said Abbas.

He rejected Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s philosophy that the Palestinians should recognize Israel and a Jewish state, adding “we had already recognized Israel as a state and we will continue recognizing it as the state of Israel.”

Abbas also noted that the Palestinians will keep being committed to the signed peace agreements and treaties “as long as the Israeli side is committed to it.”

The last direct peace negotiations, sponsored by the United States, had stopped in the spring of 2014 after it went on for nine months, due to deep differences on issues of security, borders, settlement and the recognition of the Palestinian state.

Meanwhile, Abbas admitted to Israeli media representatives that he fully backs the Palestinian wave of peaceful protests against the occupation using all peaceful means, stressing that “the Israeli measures and policies are the major reason for the breakout of the Palestinian wave of protests.”

“Israel violated all the agreements signed between us and refused to abide by it, and at the same time, it gave a free hand to settlers to carry assaults on the defenseless Palestinian people and their Islamic and Christian holy sites. I tell you frankly, all this is fully rejected,” Abbas told the Israeli journalists.

Asked about the Israeli accusations of incitement, Abbas said “there is a trilateral Israeli, Palestinian, American committee to discuss this issue of incitement and we call on keeping this committee active, but the Israeli side rejected the idea and rejects having the Americans on the table.”

A wave of violent tension that broke out in the Palestinian territories between Israel and the Palestinians in early October had so far left 170 Palestinians and 30 Israelis killed. Chances of ending violence by resuming peace talks between the two sides are slim, according to observers.

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