Emmanuel Macron tells Mahmoud Abbas situation in Palestinian areas 'more than worrying'

French leader says new spiral of violence can start at any moment

French President Emmanuel Macron, left, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the Elysee Palace in Paris. EPA
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Mahmoud Abbas heard Emmanuel Macron warn against settlement building in Palestinian territories as the French leader said the situation is “more than worrying”.

“We all know that a new spiral of violence can start at any moment," Mr Macron said, as the Palestinian leader visited the Elysee Palace on Wednesday. "To avert this threat that is present daily and undermines the lives of both Palestinians and Israelis, we must act. We must act. We must address the deep political causes of a situation that has been deadlocked for too long.

“Short-term, as we know, this means first putting an end to unilateral measures on the ground. I am thinking particularly of the evictions of Palestinian families, of the demolitions, of the policy of colonisation that is contrary to international law and that makes the possibility of establishing a Palestinian state living in peace alongside Israel more remote.”

Speaking to reporters after the two leaders met, Mr Abbas called on Israel to stop “unilateral actions” that undermine the two-state solution.

He noted that Israel doesn’t implement international resolutions designed to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“All these resolutions that were taken at the United Nations, by all the institutions of the United Nations; the General Assembly, and the Security Council and Human Rights (Council), not a single resolution has been implemented," he said. "International legitimacy, Mr President, cannot be divided, there are no two or more standards of international legitimacy, here it is applied and there it is not applied. I want a solution so that my people and I feel that they are respected by the institutions that made these decisions. “

Mr Abbas and Mr Macron discussed efforts to revive long-stalled peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

The trip follows a Middle East visit by President Joe Biden, who met Israeli and Palestinian leaders separately. Earlier this month, Mr Macron hosted new Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid for talks.

Mr Abbas also spoke about the death of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and said the Palestinian authority, together with the United States, opened a joint investigation.

The American State Department concluded earlier this month that Ms Abu Akleh was probably killed by Israeli fire as she reported on a military raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank. The report said it found no reason to suggest her killing was intentional.

Palestinian leaders, including Abbas, as well as Abu Akleh’s family, have rejected the State Department report and called for accountability for the Israeli military.

“She was killed," he said. "I want the parties that killed her to be held accountable, who killed Shireen Abu Akleh? We and the Americans opened an investigation together, and we are waiting for them to say, or to point at the killer.”

Updated: July 21, 2022, 11:24 AM
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