Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said in a press conference this weekend that it is time for Palestine to become a permanent member of the United Nations.

At a news conference on Saturday in Ramallah with his Chilean counterpart, Sebastian Pinera, President Abbas called on the Middle East Peace Quartet and the international community to take action to put an end to Israel’s Occupation.

During the visit, Abbas also criticized Israel for the collapsed Palestinian-Israeli negotiations, following Israel’s refusal to extend a partial moratorium on settlement construction in the West Bank late September of last year. He also condemned Israel’s systematic policy of confiscating Palestinian land, particularly in Jerusalem.

At the press conference, Abbas noted that the Palestinian Authority had built institutions, as required by the Israeli government, and talks were ongoing towards reconciliation between the two rival Palestinian factions (Hamas and Fateh) and national unity through presidential and legislative elections.

In addition, the Palestinian president reiterated his refusal to accept an Israeli peace plan offering a future independent state on temporary borders or other interim measures.

During his official visit, President Pinera reinforced Chile’s support for the recognition of a Palestinian independent state, pointing out that his country was the first in Latin America to establish diplomatic ties with Palestine. Pinera pledged that Chile would continue to adhere to the principles of liberty and international law.

During a joint press conference with the Chilean President, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu accused the Palestinian Authority of using what he termed ‘global anti-Israel sentiment’, instead of taking steps that would promote peace in the Middle East.

Netanyahu’s comments came after the Israeli Premier reportedly indicated last week, a new peace initiative was being prepared to support the establishment of a Palestinian state on temporary borders. The initiative was rebuffed by President Abbas on Wednesday.

In referring to the stalled peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, President Pinera said: ‘the Palestinians have a right to their own state’, adding that the opportunity for peace should not be missed.

On January 7, Chile formally recognized a Palestinian state, following the footsteps of Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia and Ecuador, and upgraded the status of its Palestinian mission to an embassy. Unlike its neighbors, however, the Chilean government did not specifically refer to a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders.

Since direct Middle East talks broke down, the PA launched a diplomatic initiative to secure international recognition for their state, with the aim of securing UN recognition in September.

The recognition of an independent state of Palestine is based on borders that existed before the 1967 Six-Day War. Israel has rejected such a move, arguing that a Palestinian state should only be created through bilateral negotiations.