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Abbas calls on African leaders to continue supporting Palestinian rights

July 3, 2017 7:43 P.M. (Updated: July 3, 2017 11:06 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called on African leaders to pressure Israel into ending the occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza, during a speech at the 29th African Summit on Monday.

During the event in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, Abbas said that African nations should make their diplomatic relationships with Israel conditional on ending its military occupation of the Palestinian territory, lest it encourage Israel to continue its aggressive policies against Palestinians.

The Palestinian head of state thanked African governments and regional bodies for their continued support of Palestinian rights, particularly in the United Nations, and expressed hope that such efforts would help achieve a peaceful and diplomatic path towards a two-state solution in order to change Palestinians’ “bitter reality.”

Abbas saluted US President Donald Trump’s expressed willingness to achieve a deal between Palestinians and Israelis, saying that he represented a “beacon of hope” for peace.

He went on to say that resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would “undoubtedly” lead to a decrease in terrorism in the Middle East and beyond.

Abbas also expressed willingness to expand Palestinian commercial and economic relations with the African continent.

While the Palestinian Authority and members of the international community have rested the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the discontinuation of illegal Israeli settlements and the establishment of a two-state solution, Israeli leaders have instead shifted further to the right, with more than 50 percent of the ministers in the current Israeli government publicly stating their opposition to a Palestinian state.

A growing number of pro-Palestinian activists have also criticized a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict -- establishing a Palestinian state along 1967 lines with East Jerusalem as its capital -- as unsustainable and unlikely to bring durable peace given the existing political context, proposing instead a binational state with equal rights for Israelis and Palestinians.
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