Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has said that “time is running out” for Middle East peace efforts.
Speaking at the UN General Assembly for the first time in the official name of the State of Palestine, he said he is committed to talks with Israel, however painted a “bleak” picture of reaching an agreement.
Abbas asked “the international community” to remain “vigilant”: “The international community must condemn and put an end to any actions on the ground that undermine negotiations.” He added that he was referring to the continuing construction of Israeli settlements on “Palestinian land, particularly in Jerusalem”.
The resumption of peace talks in July has been hailed as an achievement by the United States, however many remain sceptical of reaching a peace deal.
One resident of the West Bank’s largest city, Hebron, says “President Abbas is doing what he can, but all the negotiations are futile. In the past twenty years what have they achieved,” he asks. “Israeli army jeeps enter Nablus, Hebron, Ramallah and do what they like without anyone stopping them.”
In November of last year, the UN General Assembly passed a motion to upgrade Palestine to “non-member observer state”. Israel, the United States and a number of other countries voted against this new status.