In a speech before the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday—attended by both U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley and White House adviser Jared Kushner—Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas tore into President Donald Trump's "unlawful" Jerusalem decision and condemned Israel for continuing to expand its illegal settlements.
Accusing Israel of "acting like a state above the law," Abbas said the only way to end the Israeli occupation and ensure justice for the Palestinian people is to "establish a multilateral international mechanism emanating from an international conference."
"We call for the convening of an international peace conference by mid-2018, based on international law and the relevant U.N. resolutions," Abbas said. "We are ready to begin negotiations immediately in order to achieve the freedom and independence of our people."
Abbas went on to demand that U.S. and Israel recognize Palestine as a state—a step that has been taken by more than 190 U.N. member states.
"Recognition doesn't go against negotiations, it rather promotes negotiations," Abbas said. "Therefore I call upon the members who have yet to recognize the state of Palestine to do so. And in the future we will intensify our efforts to achieve admissions to full membership in the United Nations."
Reacting to the Security Council meeting on Twitter, Yousef Munayyer, executive director of the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, criticized Abbas' proposals as outdated—but argued that they amount to "a hell of a lot more than the idea of perpetual occupation the Israelis are putting forward now."
Watch a clip of Abbas' speech:
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas calls for a "multilateral international mechanism" for the Middle East peace process.
— CSPAN (@cspan) February 20, 2018