Netanyahu says Abbas 'running away' from peace
Thomas KIENZLE (AFP)
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Mahmoud Abbas of "running away from peace" Tuesday after the Palestinian leader called for an international conference in mid-2018 to launch a broader peace push.
"Abbas said nothing new. He continues to run away from peace and continues to pay terrorists and their families," Netanyahu said in a statement released by his office.
In a rare address to the UN Security Council, Abbas presented what he called a "peace plan" to revive the comatose Israeli-Palestinian talks with new international mediation -- in which the United States would have less weight.
President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital infuriated the Palestinians, who declared that Washington could no longer play a role as lead mediator in the Middle East peace process.
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.
He said the conference would be attended by Israel and the Palestinians, regional players, the five permanent Security Council members -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- and the diplomatic Quartet comprised of the European Union, United Nations, Russia and the United States.
The gathering should lead to full UN membership for the state of Palestine, mutual recognition of Israel and Palestine, and the creation of a new international mechanism to reach a final settlement, he said.
The Palestinian leader immediately left the council chamber following his address, leaving Israeli ambassador Danny Danon to complain that he was once again "running away" from dialogue.
"You have made it clear, with your words and with your actions, that you are no longer part of the solution. You are the problem," Danon said.
Other senior Israeli politicians blasted Abbas and zeroed in on alleged payments they claim the Palestinian authorities make to families of "terrorists".
"We all know who you are," Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman wrote on Twitter.
"One hand pays salaries to terrorists who strike at Israel and their families and the other hand asks for UN recognition."
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time for Abbas to get the Arafat treatment
Abbas an Arafat clone.