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Israel must take urgent steps to solve conflict, Abbas says

09-26-2010 07:35 BJT

UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 25 (Xinhua) -- Israel must stop all settlement activities, dismantle the barrier and end its "policy of blockade and closures" before a lasting Middle East peace agreement can be reached, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told the UN General Assembly here Saturday as he pledged to nevertheless exert every effort to achieve such a deal within the next year.

Speaking on the third day of the General Assembly's high-level debate, Abbas, the president of the Palestinian National Authority, said his people continued to suffer as a result of "the mentality of expansion and domination, which still controls the ideology and policies of Israel, the occupying Power."

Abbas said Israel was deliberately distorting the religious, spiritual and historical identity of the city of Jerusalem, engaged in "an unjust and unprecedented blockade by land, air and sea of the Gaza Strip," imprisoned thousands of Palestinians in jails and detention centers, expanded settlements, particularly in and around East Jerusalem, established "the annexation apartheid wall," and maintained checkpoints and closures that restricted the daily lives of Palestinians.

He said these actions, often in breach of General Assembly and Security Council resolutions, were undermining the basic human rights of the Palestinians.

But he said that because of Palestinians'"genuine desire to realizing a future of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the region, we have decided to enter into final status negotiations."

Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu entered direct negotiations earlier this month -- after 17 months of proximity talks -- when they came together in Washington under the auspices of the United States.

"We will exert every effort to reach an agreement for Palestinian-Israeli peace within one year, in accordance with resolutions of international legitimacy, the Arab Peace Initiative, the Roadmap and the vision of the two-State solution," Abbas said.

He urged the international community to draw lessons from the failures of past attempts to resolve the Middle East conflict, and said the peace process would only be credible when Israel took key steps, such as stopping all settlement activities and dismantling the barrier.

"Our demands for the cessation of settlement activities, the lifting of the siege and an end to all other Israeli policies and practices do not constitute arbitrary pre-conditions in the peace process, but are consistent with the implementation of obligations and previous commitments, compliance with which has been repeatedly reaffirmed in all resolutions adopted since the very start of the political process," he added.


Editor:Zhang Pengfei |Source: Xinhua

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