Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has accused Israel of destroying the two-state solution with actions he said could lead Palestinians to demand equal rights within one binational state comprising Israel, the occupied West Bank, and besieged Gaza.
Addressing the UN General Assembly via video link from the West Bank, Abbas, 85, on Friday urged the international community to act to save the two-state formula that for decades has been the bedrock of diplomacy for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Abbas said Israel was "destroying the prospect of a political settlement based on the two-state solution" through its settlements on occupied West Bank land it annexed in the 1967 Middle East war and gave Tel Aviv a year to withdraw from occupied territories.
The Palestinian leader warned that the state will go to the Hague-based International Court of Justice to seek adjudication over the legitimacy of Israel's occupation and called on UN chief Antonio Guterres to work on resolutions on Palestine.
Most countries view the settlements as illegal, a position Israel disputes.
'Israel must choose'
"If the Israeli occupation authorities continue to entrench the reality of one apartheid state as is happening today, our Palestinian people and the entire world will not tolerate such a situation," Abbas said.
"Circumstances on the ground will inevitably impose equal and full political rights for all on the land of historical Palestine, within one state. In all cases, Israel has to choose," Abbas said from Ramallah, the seat of his Palestinian Authority, which has limited self-rule in the occupied West Bank.
Abbas requested international help to carry out elections, including in occupied Jerusalem, and told countries providing financial support to Tel Aviv that they're prolonging occupation.
There was no immediate Israeli comment on Abbas' remarks.
Abbas to Israel: Withdraw within one year
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, a far-rightist who sits atop a cross-partisan coalition, opposes Palestinian statehood. His government has vowed to avoid sensitive choices towards the Palestinians and instead focus on economic issues.
In his UN address, Abbas threatened to rescind the Palestinians' recognition of Israel if it does not withdraw from the occupied West Bank, besieged Gaza, and East Jerusalem within a year.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in #UNGA:— TRT World Now (@TRTWorldNow) September 24, 2021
– Salutes Palestinian prisoners' heroic stand
– Countries providing financial support to Israel prolonging occupation
– Israel evading two-state solution
– Unilateral security plan by "apartheid Israeli state" will achieve nothing pic.twitter.com/EZVgzaSiCu
"If this is not achieved, why maintain recognition of Israel based on the 1967 borders? Why maintain this recognition?" Abbas said.
While some Palestinians and Israelis support the idea of a single binational state, most have very different ideas of what that entity would look like and how it would be governed.
Most analysts contend a single state would not be viable, for religious, political, and demographic reasons. Israeli governments have viewed a one-state concept as undermining the essence of an independent Jewish state.
US President Joe Biden reiterated his support for the two-state solution during his own UN address on Tuesday, saying it would ensure "Israel's future as a Jewish, democratic state living in peace alongside a viable and democratic Palestinian state."
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