UN must try to end Israeli occupation 'within set timeframe': Abbas

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Abbas warns if two-state solution were to be rejected, Palestinians would have no choice but to 'continue the struggle' against 'apartheid'

Mahmoud Abbas, president of State of Palestine, on Wednesday addresses United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York City (AFP)
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Thursday 21 September 2017 10:16 UTC

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called on the United Nations on Wednesday to pursue efforts to "bring an end to Israeli occupation of the state of Palestine within a set timeframe".

Abbas, addressing the United Nations General Assembly, warned that if the two-state solution were to be rejected, Palestinians would have no choice but to "continue the struggle and demand full rights for all inhabitants of historic Palestine".

He urged the UN to end what he described as an "apartheid" regime imposed by Israel in the Palestinian territories.

"We are entrusted and you are entrusted to end apartheid in Palestine," Abbas told the UN General Assembly in a 45-minute address.

"Can the world accept an apartheid regime in the 21st century?" he asked.

Taking the podium a day after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Abbas slammed Israel over the construction of new settlements "everywhere," saying they were putting the two-state solution in jeopardy.

"There is no place left for the state of Palestine and this is not acceptable," he said.

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The US kicks the Israeli-Palestinian peace deal into the long grass

The United Nations considers settlements illegal under international law and the Security Council in December adopted a resolution demanding an end to the expansion of the Jewish outposts on the West Bank and in East Jerusalem.

The resolution passed after the US under the previous administration of Barack Obama declined to use its veto and instead abstained.

The Palestinian leader vowed to push for full recognition of Palestinian statehood at the UN, a move that would require approval from the Security Council where the US, Israel's key ally, holds veto power.

Abbas spoke at the assembly after meeting US President Donald Trump, who said he was "working very hard with everybody involved towards peace," but offered little detail.

Meanwhile, Al Jazeera reported that four Palestinian rights groups submitted a 700-page document to the International Criminal Court, alleging that senior Israeli officials have committed crimes against humanity.

"This communication, which is based on factual information collected by the four organisations, covers the following crimes against humanity in accordance with the Rome Statute: murder, deportation or transfer of population, persecution, apartheid," an al-Haq representative, which is one of the groups involved, told Al Jazeera.