Riyad Al-Maliki
Riyad Al-MalikiReuters

The Palestinian Authority (PA) “foreign minister” Riyad al-Maliki on Monday urged the UN Security Council to “rescue” the stalled peace process in the Middle East by holding an international conference, the Xinhua news agency reported.

Al-Maliki made the appeal during an online speech from Ramallah to an open UN Security Council session held in New York.

"It is necessary to meet the call of President Mahmoud Abbas to hold an international peace conference to resolve the conflict in the Middle East," he said, according to Xinhua.

Al-Maliki also called on the international community to punish Israel for its planned construction in Judea and Samaria.

"It is not enough to declare the settlements illegal. Punishment must follow," he said.

PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas has repeatedly pushed for an international conference for peace in the Middle East, aimed at bypassing the US efforts to resume talks.

Abbas has denounced Israel’s agreements with the UAE, Bahrain and Sudan, which were brokered by the US, saying only an Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria can bring peace to the Middle East.

Last month, a senior PA official said the PA had started diplomatic steps to hold an international peace conference at the beginning of 2021.

Also speaking at Monday’s UN Security Council session was Israel’s UN ambassador, Gilad Erdan, who chided the Security Council for its "muted response" to the recent peace and normalization agreements between Israel and three Arab nations.

Erdan called on the Security Council to “break free from old paradigms and address the new reality in the Middle East.”

He further criticized the council for its “apparent disregard for other factors that jeopardize the stability and security of the region.”

Pointing to the undemocratic nature of the Palestinian Authority, Erdan said that “Israel has held more elections in a year than the Palestinians have held in the last fifteen."

He further noted the PA's vehement condemnation of the recent peace deals. "Now everyone can see that the Palestinians incite against any country that seeks peace in the region, even its fellow Arab League members. The fact that the Palestinians attack those who make peace with Israel, demonstrates that, for years, the council has been applying pressure to the wrong side."