Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas delivers a speech during a ceremony marking the 52nd anniversary of the establishment of the Fatah movement in the West Bank city of Ramallah on December 31, 2016. (Photo by AFP)
VON PRESS Middle East: Abbas made the remarks in an address to a ceremony marking the 52nd anniversary of the establishment of the Palestinian Fatah movement in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Saturday.
Palestinian president said Israeli settlements "are illegal, and in recent days, we were given an unprecedented decision regarding this issue."
He was referring to the United Nations Security Council's adoption last week of Resolution 2334 that denounced Israeli settlements as a "flagrant violation of international law."
The resolution was adopted after the administration of US President Barack Obama refused to veto it, reversing Washington's longstanding policy of shielding Israel from condemnatory measures at the world body.
Abbas also slammed the regime in Tel Aviv for "trying to overturn facts and mislead the international community while continuing to establish colonies" in the occupied territories.
Israel must stop all illegal settlement activities and avoid making any changes to the demographic situation of the occupied lands, he added.
The Palestinian leader further said 2017 would be "the year of the independent Palestinian state."
Palestinians are seeking to create an independent state in the territories of the West Bank, East Jerusalem al-Quds and the Gaza Strip, with East al-Quds as its capital.
Over 230 illegal settlements have been constructed since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories. The unauthorized structures have hampered attempts to establish peace in the Middle East.
In November 2012, the United Nations General Assembly voted to upgrade Palestine's status from "non-member observer entity" to "non-member observer state" despite strong opposition from Israel.
Palestine's flag was hoisted for the first time at the UN Headquarters in New York in September 2015.