Mahmoud Abbas: What we want is peace ... but Israel working towards state based on apartheid

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has said Israeli legislation to retroactively legalise thousands of West Bank settlement homes is an aggression against the Palestinian people.

"That bill is contrary to international law," Mr Abbas said following a meeting with French President Francois Hollande in Paris.

"This is an aggression against our people that we will be opposing in international organisations."

"What we want is peace ... but what Israel does is to work towards one state based on apartheid," Mr Abbas said.

Mr Hollande called on the Israeli government to go back on the bill approved by politicians late on Monday, saying it would "pave the way for an annexation, de facto, of the occupied territories, which would be contrary to the two-state solution".

Hours before Mr Abbas's meeting with Mr Hollande, Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation, said the bill is "putting the last nail in the coffin of the two-state solution".

The measure is the latest in a series of pro-settler steps taken by Israel's hard-line government since the election of Donald Trump as US president.

Calling the move "theft", Mr Erekat said it was "the Israeli government trying to legalise looting Palestinian land".

In his joint statement with Mr Hollande, Mr Abbas also warned against moving the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, one of Mr Trump's campaign promises.

"Any move in that direction is an error and shouldn't be done prior to an agreement on a political solution", he said.

AP


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