Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has accused Israel of committing a "war of genocide" on the Palestinian people in a controversial United Nations speech.

"In the name of Palestine, I affirm here today, we will not forget or forgive, or allow war criminals to escape unpunished," he said.

"Israel has chosen to make it a year of a new war of genocide perpetrated against the Palestinian people.

"The war against Gaza was a series of war crimes carried out before the eyes and ears of the entire world. A life of Palestinian is as precious as that of any other.

"Even as we watched the escalating Israeli violations, we exercised unimaginable self-restraint, in order to give US efforts a chance.

Abbas did not go as far as to confirm that he will pursue war crimes charges against Israel at the International Criminal Court (ICC) but he said he would attempt to secure a UN resolution which would set a deadline for Israel to withdraw from the occupied West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.

In other aspects of his speech, he condemned Israel's attempts to "undermine" peace negotiations between the two parties.

"As usual the Israeli government did not miss the opportunity to undermine the chance for peace. Throughout the negotiations, settlement construction, killing & arrest campaigns in the West Bank continued unabated."

The Palestinian leader continued to criticise the Israeli occupation and spoke of a future independent Palestinian state.

"Israel has refused to end its occupation of the State of Palestine since 1967, but rather seeks its continuation and entrenchment. The future proposed by the Israeli government for the Palestinian people is at best isolated ghettos for Palestinians without sovereignty."

"The occupation wants to destroy the chance for the realisation of the Palestinian existence in an independent State.

"There's no value in negotiations for which agreed objective isn't ending the Israeli occupation & achieving independence of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital on the entire Palestinian Territory occupied in the 1967 war. And, there is no value in negotiations which are not linked to a firm timetable for the implementation of this goal.

"The hour of independence for the people of Palestine has arrived," he concluded.

He also mentioned the threat of Isis (now known as the Islamic State) and the death of Mohammed Abu Khdeir in Jerusalem before receiving a standing ovation at the end of his speech.