The annual U.N. General Assembly has generated sometimes powerful comments by world leaders on issues involving North Korea, Iran, Afghanistan and the flight of minority Muslims from Myanmar as more than 100 heads of state and government gather in New York.
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Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday that “Israel is not interested” in achieving peace.
“A commitment to peace by one side is not enough,” said Abbas, who listed various peace blueprints put together over the decades and accused Israel of sabotaging them all.
The Palestinian leader spoke a day after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the world body. In his speech, Netanyahu made only a brief reference to hopes for peace with all of Israel’s Arab neighbors in the region, including the Palestinians.
In his address to the chamber, the 82-year-old Palestinian leader declared that “the two-state solution is in jeopardy,” referring to the aim, long supported by Washington, for Israel and a Palestinian state to exist side by side. President Trump has been more equivocal than predecessors about such a scenario, though senior aides say it remains the U.S. goal.
Abbas also suggested that Israel was seeking to ignite a “religious war” with repeated provocations over a disputed holy site in Jerusalem’s Old City, and denounced Jewish settlement-building activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, saying “Israel builds wherever it wishes.”
Trump has spoken frequently and enthusiastically about prospects for Mideast peace, putting his son-in-law Jared Kushner in charge of an effort to bring the two sides to the table, but if anything, the two sides' positions have hardened since the U.S. president took office.
Earlier Wednesday, Trump met with Abbas on the sidelines of the General Assembly, telling reporters as the two headed into their talks that “I think we have a very, very good chance” for achieving peace.
“Complex subject, always been considered the toughest deal of all,” Trump said, adding, “I think we have a pretty good shot, maybe the best shot ever.”