Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will address the United Nations Security Council on Feb. 20 during its monthly meeting on the Middle East amid continuing Palestinian rejection of direct talks with Israel, as well as the US role in brokering future negotiations.
In the weeks since US President Donald Trump announced American recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on Dec. 6, Abbas has said he will ask the Security Council to grant full UN membership to a Palestinian state. In addresses to Arab and African leaders over the last month, the PA president said he will only accept an internationally-backed panel to broker any peace talks with Israel.
Danny Danon, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, condemned the invitation to Abbas. “After disseminating antisemitic messages in recent speeches, Mahmoud Abbas is now seeking to put an end to any possibility of negotiations with Israel,” Danon said. “By continuing to act against the United States and seeking unilateral action against Israel, Abbas is completely misreading today’s reality and harming the prospects for a better future for his people.”
Nikki Haley, the US Ambassador to the UN, told the Security Council last week that Abbas lacked “the courage and the will to seek peace.”
But Kuwait – a non-permanent member currently serving as the President of the Security Council – defended the invitation to Abbas.
“This will be a good thing for members of the Security Council to listen to the president himself,” said Kuwait’s UN Ambassador, Mansour Ayyad Al-Otaibi. “No council members rejected this proposal.”
The forthcoming appearance of Abbas follows the decision on Dec. 21 by the 193-member UN General Assembly to adopt a resolution calling for the United States to rescind its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
A total of 128 countries backed the resolution, which is non-binding. Nine voted against and 35 abstained. Twenty-one countries did not cast a vote.
(C) 2017 . The Algemeiner . Ben Cohen