US says ready to talk Mideast peace; Abbas calls for conference

Palestinians Mourn the Death of Teen Killed by IDF Soldier

Following a speech by Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas at the UN Security Council (UNSC) on Tuesday, US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Hale, delivered a blunt message before the worldwide body.

Abbas then called for a multilateral global effort to secure Palestinian statehood, thus removing the USA from its traditional role as the key mediator in negotiations.

He said the peace conference should include the Israelis and Palestinians, the five permanent Security Council members and key regional and worldwide governments, noting that 74 countries attended a Mideast peace conference in Paris in January 2017.

His comments come in the wake of a controversial US decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and to move the USA embassy there, from Tel Aviv.

Abbas put the blame for the failure of peace efforts squarely on Israel, saying it was "acting as a state above the law" and had "shut the door on the two-state solution" to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"It has transformed the occupation from a temporary situation as per worldwide law into a situation of permanent settlement colonization", the Palestinian leader added.

Israel's United Nations ambassador, Danny Danon, chided Abbas for running from the chamber after his speech to avoid a debate, setting out a list of unacceptable demands, and fomenting a "culture of hate" among Palestinians.

White House spokesman Josh Raffel said that the administration was hoping to hear some new ideas from Abbas and noted the "recognition that Jerusalem is holy to Jews in addition to Muslims and Christians is a step in the right direction".

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KELEMEN: U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley sat with her arms crossed as the Palestinian leader spoke - behind her, President Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt. Don't you think we deserve to be a full member?

"The European Union has requested clarifications from Israeli authorities and conveyed the expectation that they reconsider these decisions, which are detrimental to ongoing efforts towards meaningful peace talks", the European Union's foreign service said in a statement. It's not going to work that way.

The Palestinian leader added into his prepared remarks: "We are employees for the occupation". Kushner and Greenblatt are working on a new Middle East peace plan.

France, which hosted a Middle East peace conference in Paris previous year, said it was ready to examine Mr Abbas' proposal for a revamped approach. Palestinians seek East Jerusalem, occupied by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war, as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

The Palestinian leadership has a choice of two paths - "absolutist demands, hateful rhetoric, and incitement to violence" which will only lead to hardship for the Palestinian people or "negotiation and compromise" that holds the promise of peace, Haley said.

In his response to Abbas speech, the Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, described a history of peace talks that often ended abruptly when Palestinians withdrew once Israel had made an offer.

In December, the General Assembly voted 128-9, with 35 abstentions, to reject the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem.

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