05:59 GMT +316 December 2019
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    Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas is pictured during a meeting with the Norwegian foreign minister in the West Bank city of Ramallah on September 8, 2016.

    Abbas Hails Anti-Settlement Resolution, Looks Forward to Working With Trump

    © AFP 2019 / Abbas Momani
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    Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said at a torch-lighting ceremony marking the 52nd anniversary of the founding of the Fatah movement December 31 that he believes an independent Palestinian state will become a reality in 2017.

    In his address to the members of the party, Abbas praised the historic Resolution 2334 passed by the UN Security Council about a week earlier, which reaffirmed that by building settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, Israel violates international law.

    The 81-year-old leader once again criticized the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for attempting to enforce Israeli rule on occupied territories.

    "The settlements are illegal, and in recent days, we were given an unprecedented decision regarding this issue," Abbas said, as reported by Channel 10 news. He regards the move as an ‘unprecedented' diplomatic victory, he added.

    The leader also expressed hope that he and incoming US president Donald Trump will be able to build a positive relationship and work together on reaching a two-state solution to the Palestine issue, despite Trump's claims that he doesn't necessarily see West Bank settlements as illegal and his calls to veto the resolution.

    "We want to emphasize our willingness to work with the newly-elected American administration… to achieve peace… based on a two-state solution," Abbas told the crowd.

    Encouraged by the resolution and the farewell speech of outgoing US Secretary of State John Kerry, in which he defended the Security Council's decision, the Palestinians are now counting on a strong international endorsement from the Mideast peace conference in France next month.

    After the Six Day War in 1967, Israel seized the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Golan Heights and Sinai Peninsula. The United States and many other nations has been calling on Israel ever since to accept the borders that existed before the conflict.

    Netanyahu, who opposes a return to the 1967 lines, argues that all disputes must be settled through direct negotiations without any preconditions, and that pressure by the international community jeopardizes the negotiating process.    


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