All Security Council members invited by PA chief, except US

Abbas said planning UN event aimed at thwarting Trump’s peace plan

Israel working to undermine meeting on sidelines of General Assembly that will include envoys from over 40 states and international groups, Channel 10 reports

Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas speaks to the press after meeting French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace in Paris on September 21, 2018. (AFP Photo/Ludovic Marin)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas speaks to the press after meeting French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace in Paris on September 21, 2018. (AFP Photo/Ludovic Marin)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will host a conference on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly this week to review ways to torpedo the Trump administration’s plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace, Israeli television reported Monday.

The meeting, which Channel 10 said will be held Wednesday, comes in the wake of a series of financial and diplomatic sanctions the United States has enacted against the Palestinians, who it accuses of rebuffing its peace efforts.

The report said countries such as Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom and Germany have been invited to the event and that representatives from some 40 states and international organizations were expected to attend, though it did not say from which nations. The US and Israel were not invited.

“All members of the UN Security Council were invited other than the US,” the Axios news site reported later Monday. The event will take place at the Grand Hyatt hotel, under the theme: ‘Salvaging the Two-State Solution, Defending the International Rules-Based System’,” it said.

In a document distributed to invitees and reviewed by the Israeli network, the Palestinians said the meeting would focus on countering threats to the two-state solution posed by Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank; formulating ways to safeguard UN agencies that deal with matters relating to the Palestinians, such as its agency for Palestinian refugees and the Human Rights Council; and advancing steps that would jumpstart peace talks based on the two-state solution and UN resolutions.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas listens while US President Donald Trump makes a statement for the press before a meeting at the Palace Hotel during the 72nd United Nations General Assembly on September 20, 2017, in New York. (AFP/Brendan Smialowski)

The document also claims US President Donald Trump’s approach to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process is part of an effort to undermine the post World War II world order, according to Channel 10, and that supporting the preservation of the two-state solution is key to resisting this.

The report said Israel has been working to undermine the meeting, with Israeli diplomats reaching out to states invited to attend and urging them to skip it or send lower-ranking officials.

The Palestinians reportedly anticipate diplomats, rather than foreign ministers, will attend.

Abbas arrived in New York on Monday and met with European Union foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini, who reiterated the bloc’s support for a two-state solution.

Mogherini and EU commissioner Johannes Hahn are set to host a ministerial meeting on the sidelines of the General Assembly Thursday on UNRWA, the Palestinian refugee agency recently defunded by the Trump administration.

Abbas is expected to use his speech to the UN to urge the international community to either save the two-state solution or take responsibility for its demise and “burial,” unnamed Palestinian sources told London-based Arabic daily Asharq Al-Awsat Friday.

The sources said Abbas’s appeal for an international peace conference will be his final effort to save the peace process before he is forced to make “difficult decisions.” These could include suspending the PA’s recognition of Israel, annulment of accords — including Oslo — and declaring the Palestinian territories to be a state under occupation.

On Sunday, Jordan’s King Abdullah met with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo ahead of the start of the General Assembly, telling him the kingdom believes a two-state solution is the only path to peace and that the international community must continue to support UNRWA.

“The international community must bear its responsibility to provide the support required by UNRWA in order to continue to provide services to more than 5 million Palestinian refugees in the fields of education, health and relief,” said the Jordanian king.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, talks to Jordan’s King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein, right, during a meeting at Mandarin Oriental Hotel, in New York, Sept. 23, 2018, in New York. (Andres Kudacki via AP, Pool)

Over the past few weeks the United States has cut more than $200 million in aid to the Palestinians and canceled its support for UNRWA, citing Palestinian intransigence.

The US has also halted $25 million in aid to East Jerusalem hospitals, leading to warnings of the “collapse” of medical centers that provide crucial care to Palestinians.

The network, which is made up of six hospitals in East Jerusalem, provides healthcare such as cancer treatment and surgeries for Palestinians to whom such medical assistance is unavailable in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, according to the World Health Organization.

Trump said earlier this month that aid to the Palestinians will remain withheld until the Palestinians “make a deal with Israel.”

Palestinian employees of United Nations Relief and Works Agency take part in a protest in Gaza City against job cuts by UNRWA on September 19, 2018 (AFP Photo/Said Khatib)

Though hailed by Israeli politicians, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the cuts are said to be opposed by defense officials, who fear they could fuel Palestinian unrest and in turn jeopardize Israel’s security.

Furthermore, the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington ceased operations last week following a demand by the United States to shut down in a bid to pressure the Palestinians to enter peace talks with Israel.

The move to not grant the mission its normal six-month renewal came after Palestinian leaders allegedly breached the arrangement by calling for Israeli officials to be prosecuted at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

In direct aid, however, the PA last month received some $42 million in frozen funds for security cooperation with Israel. A report by the State Department last week, covering 2017, noted the PA’s ongoing role in fighting terrorism.

Raphael Ahren contributed to this report.

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