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Abbas warns he could suspend security cooperation with Israel

Abbas has described Israeli settlement building as apartheid and colonisation

Date of publication: 8 February, 2017

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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has warned of dire consequences to the prospects of peace with Israel, after the Knesset passed a law legalising illegal settlements.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he may be forced to end cooperation with Israel on security matters, in the wake of controversial Israeli law to legalise hundreds of illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Speaking to the French senate in Paris on Wednesday, Abbas spoke of the effects continued Israeli settlement expansion - some on private Palestinian land - could have on the peace process.

"If the colonisation continues I would have no other choice [but to suspend security cooperation] it would not be my fault," the president said.

He went on to seek international support for pressure on Israel to roll back the settlement law, warning that failure to apply international law would result in apartheid.

"Why would the world agree to see us return to a system of apartheid in the 21st century?" he asked.

Abbas also demanded that the UN ensure Security Council Resolution 2334 would be enforced. The resolution, adopted in December 2016, names all Israeli settlements built in Palestinian territory since 1967 as illegal.

In a letter to EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini before his speech at the senate, Abbas described the settlement law as "a major setback to peace-making efforts and will undermine the two-state solution".

He said this would have "implications on the region and world in general".

In a rare moment of unbridled criticism of Israel, the German foreign ministry has today announced that these events have fundamentally shaken "trust in the Israeli government's commitment to the two-state solution".

The Israeli legislation was widely condemned by European and world leaders.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres released a statement damning the move, saying: "This bill is in contravention of international law and will have far reaching legal consequences for Israel."

The EU, France, the UK, Turkey and the Arab League also criticised the bill, which has been widely considered as extremely damaging to the peace process and the future viability of Palestinian statehood. ​

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