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Palestinian president calls on Israel to halt settlement activities

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a press conference in Brussels on February 9, 2017. (Photos by AFP)

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has voiced his commitment to the so-called two-state solution, while calling on Israel to halt its settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The Palestinian president’s stance was announced in an official statement released after US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave a joint press conference in Washington on Wednesday.

Emboldened by the ever-growing pro-Israeli rhetoric of the Trump administration, the Tel Aviv regime has announced 5,000 new permits for Israeli settlement units in the occupied Palestinian territories. However, during the presser, Trump told Netanyahu that he would like to see a “pull-back” on Israel’s settlement activities.

"The presidency demands that (Israel) agree to (Trump's call), and that of the international community, to halt all settlement activities including in the occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds," read Abbas’ statement.

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“The Palestinian presidency stressed its commitment to the two-state solution and to the international law and international legitimacy in the way that secures ending the Israeli occupation and establishes the Palestinian State with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital," it added.

During the press conference, Trump refrained from directly stating whether he backed the two-state solution or not.

"I'm looking at two states and one state, and I like the one both parties like…I can live with either one," he said.

On Tuesday, a senior White House official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Washington would no longer insist on a “two-state solution” to the Israel-Palestine conflict but would support whatever the two sides agree to.

US President Donald Trump (L) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hold a joint press conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, February 15, 2017. 

Abbas’ statement also added that Palestine affirms its "readiness to deal positively with the Trump administration to make peace."

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Less than a month before Trump took office, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 2334 in December, denouncing the Israeli settlements as a “flagrant violation of international law.” The resolution was adopted after the US refused to veto it, in a reversal of its longstanding policy of shielding the Israeli regime from condemnatory resolutions at the world body. Trump also vowed at the time that Washington's policies at the world body would “be different” during his administration.

The presence and continued expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestine has created a major obstacle for the efforts to establish peace in the Middle East.

Over half a million Israelis live in more than 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank including East al-Quds.

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