Abbas Calls for International Conference to Broker Israeli-Palestinian Peace
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas used his turn to address the opening session of the United Nations General Assembly – albeit virtually because of the coronavirus – to call for an international conference under the auspices of the U.N. and the “Quartet” – the longstanding panel consisting of the U.S., U.N., E.U. and Russia charged with overseeing Israeli-Palestinian peace process. According to Abbas, the parley would take place “early next year.” The Palestinians are shaken by the breach in unity of support for the Palestinians’ position after the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain entered into separate peace deals with Israel despite historic vows of solidarity with the Palestinians. Abbas’ call for a peace conference is a departure from his blanket refusal to deal with American-based peace efforts, but is seen by numerous Mideast pundits as a mechanism for “not being left behind” as other Gulf States are expected to follow the UAE and Bahrain and negotiate their own agreements with Israel. Some are chiding Abbas and the PA that they “missed the boat” by refusing to come to the table sooner.