RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met with his French counterpart Francois Hollande in Paris on Tuesday, when the two discussed legislation passed by Israel late Monday night that granted official Israeli governmental recognition to more than a dozen illegal settlement outposts in the occupied West Bank.
While in France, Abbas called the law a “flagrant challenge” to the international community, and called on Hollande to oppose the law “before it is too late,” according to a report in French by Reuters news agency.
At a news conference after their meeting, the French president said that the ramp-up of settlements “would open the way to the annexation of occupied territories” adding: “I think that Israel and its government could revise this text.”
Abbas said at the press conference that the so-called Regularization law was “contrary to international law” and represented “an aggression against our people,” state-run Palestinian news agency Wafa quoted him as saying.
The Palestinian president also said he did not accept recent plans by Israel to build some 6,000 new illegal settlement homes in the occupied West Bank.
He said called on France and the international community “to help us implement (UN) Security Council resolution 2334 before it is too late.”
The Security Council passed a resolution in December condemning Israeli settlements and reaffirmed their clear illegality under international law.
“We want to achieve peace with our neighbors and to get out of this big prison Israel is trying to keep us in,” said Abbas, adding that Israel would “eventually find itself paying its price.”
He warned that Israeli settlement policies were leading to the establishment of “one state, two systems, which is apartheid.”
Abbas said he also discussed with Hollande plans by US President Donald Trump to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to occupied Jerusalem, which he said “is a violation of international law.”
The two presidents also discussed potential means to implement the outcome of an international peace conference that was held in Paris last month, as well as the bilateral relations between Palestine and France.
Earlier Tuesday, France joined Britain, Turkey, and Jordan to denounce the legislation, with French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault calling on Israel “to honor its international commitments and take back this law,” which he called yet “another blow to the two-state solution.”
While members of the international community have rested the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the discontinuation of illegal Israeli settlements and the establishment of a two-state solution, Israeli leaders have instead shifted further to the right, with more than 50 percent of the ministers in the current Israeli government publicly stating their opposition to a Palestinian state.
A number of Palestinian activists have criticized the two-state solution as unsustainable and unlikely to bring durable peace given the existing political context, proposing instead a binational state with equal rights for Israelis and Palestinians.
Abbas was also scheduled to meet with French lawmakers and future presidential candidates on Tuesday and Wednesday, according to al-Maliki.