President Mahmoud Abbas© EU 2016 - European Parliament  

“It is time for our people to live in freedom, without walls and checkpoints”, urged President of the Palestinian National Authority Mahmoud Abbas in his address to MEPs on Thursday. He conveyed his people’s gratitude to the European Parliament for recognising a State of Palestine and criticised Israel for pursuing its occupation of Palestinian territories.

The “Palestinian nation wants to live in full sovereignty [...] and the EU, being a major player, is helping to create an embryo Palestinian State”, said President Abbas. He asked MEPs for more help to find a fair and just two-state solution based on the 1967 borders. Mr Abbas also welcomed the recent French initiative to revive the Middle East peace talks, but advocated for setting a deadline for these talks to end.

President Abbas also condemned the use of violence and terrorist attacks as a means to build a state, warning that terrorism could be eradicated from the region only if Israel puts an end to its occupation of Palestinian territories. “Israel has turned our country into an open prison”, he said.

European Parliament President Martin Schulz said that helping to ensure the stability and proper functioning of Palestine is a moral duty for EU. “Your presence here today, the day after President Rivlin delivered his address, sends a strong signal that the will to achieve a lasting peace between Israel and Palestine is still alive”, he added.

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Statement by Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian National Authority

Statement by Martin Schulz, EP President

A day before the House was addressed by Israeli President Rivlin, who called on MEPs to help build trust in the Middle East