Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas sought a new super observer UN status for Palestinians on Thursday as he condemned Israel's "catastrophic" settlements.
One year after making a bid for full membership of the United Nations, Abbas returned to the UN General Assembly to warn that Israel's tactics were a sign that it "rejects the two-state solution."
Abbas called on the United Nations Security Council to pass a binding resolution setting out a path to end the two-year deadlock in talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
The Palestinians' bid for full membership of the United Nations has been blocked at the Security Council by the veto-wielding United States. This week, Abbas came back to New York with more modest ambitions.
Abbas said he would now seek to bolster the Palestinians existing observer status. He said he would seek a vote at the UN General Assembly in the coming months to approve Palestine as a "non-member state of the United Nations."
As a permanent UN Security Council member, the United States can veto any resolution backing full membership for the Palestinians.
But no country can veto a resolution in the General Assembly, where an overwhelming majority of the 193 members states would back Abbas.
"We are confident that the vast majority of the countries of the world support our endeavor, aimed at salvaging the chances for a just peace," Abbas said, speaking just ahead of Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians have been frozen for two years.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas of slandering Israel in his address to the UN General Assembly on Thursday. "We wont solve our conflict with libelous speeches at the UN. We wont solve our conflict with unilateral declarations of statehood," Netanyahu declared, shortly after Abbas slammed Jewish settlement building as "racist." Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman also took aim at Abbas, calling his speech "incitement" and slamming his use of the words "ethnic cleansing" and "nakba" to describe the situation in the West Bank.
"Developments over the past year have confirmed what we have persistently drawn attention to and warned of: the catastrophic danger of the racist Israeli settlement of our country, Palestine," Abbas said, lashing out at "attacks by terrorist militias of Israeli settlers."
"We are facing relentless waves of attacks against our people, our mosques, churches and monasteries, and our homes and schools," he said.
"They are unleashing their venom against our trees, fields, crops and properties, and our people have become fixed targets for acts of killing and abuse with the complete collusion of the occupying forces and the Israeli government."
Abbas said Israel's tactics could only lead to the conclusion "that the Israeli government rejects the two-state solution."
Abbas called on the Security Council to "urgently adopt a resolution comprising the basis and foundations for a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict that would serve as a binding reference and guide for all."
The Palestinian leader said this was crucial "if the vision of two states, Israel and Palestine, is to survive and if peace is to prevail in the land of peace."
In an interview with Euronews in Brussels, Leila Shahid, the Palestinian Authority's representative to the EU, declared: "‘We don’t have any alternative other than the UN. We don’t have anywhere else to go if we want to use diplomatic means instead of violence. Return to armed struggle is another question. In this regard, I think the Palestinian position is clear: if the world is not ready to take any notice of us we have other means. For instance, the cancellation of the Oslo accords. Each nation has a responsibility to its people."