PA autocrat says UN bears a legal, political, moral and humanitarian obligation to end Israeli “occupation”, urges the UN to take steps to impose peace on Israel, accept the Palestinians as owners of the land.
By Elad Benari
Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday used his speech at the UN General Assembly to attack Israel, as he has done in past speeches as well.
In his remarks, Abbas claimed that Israel is evading its responsibility to end its “occupation of Palestine”.
“While we call to end the occupation, Israel incites and pretends there’s no Palestinian partner for peace,” Abbas charged, ignoring the fact that he has continuously rejected invitations from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to sit down for direct talks.
The UN bears a legal, political, moral and humanitarian obligation to end Israeli “occupation”, he continued, adding that Israeli “occupation” breeds incitement and violence.
“‘Draining the swamp’ of Israeli occupation would greatly affect the fight on terror,” he said.
“We called on Israel’s Prime Minister to sit with us to negotiate. He rejected this offer,” Abbas claimed, adding, “Israeli policies stir religious animosity and may lead to a violent religious conflict.”
Abbas has imposed endless preconditions on talks, most recently demanding that talks be on the basis of the two-state solution, the establishment of an independent Palestinian state and the determination that “settlements” on all Palestinian land are illegal.
Abbas also told the UN that Jerusalem is an occupied city and that Israel’s decisions there are null and void and illegal.
“We cannot allow Israeli occupation to continue without cost,” he said, though he also stressed that “our problem is with the Israeli occupation and not with Judaism as a religion.”
The PA chairman demanded that the UN “actively pursue efforts to end the Israeli occupation under a set time frame,” adding that it is “no longer enough to issue generic statements without a deadline.”
The UN must demand that Israel uphold the borders of 1967, and side could act within its border without affecting the other side, said Abbas.
He urged countries that haven’t yet recognized the “State of Palestine” to do so, before adding, “Israel has no borders. How can you recognize a state with no borders?”
He also urged the Security Council to accept the PA’s application to full membership of the UN. In 2012, the UN General Assembly recognized “Palestine” as a non-member observer state, an achievement which Abbas views as his greatest political achievement to date.
Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, reacted to Abbas’s comments, saying, “Mahmoud Abbas has spread falsehoods from the UN podium which encourage hate, instead of ending the education towards violence in the PA. Today’s lies and excuses have proven once again that the Palestinian leadership is a serial evader of peace.”
Abbas’s speech came hours after he met U.S. President Donald Trump and praised his efforts to resume talks with Israel.
“If this is any proof to anything … it attests to the seriousness of your excellency, Mr. President, to achieve the deal of the century in the Middle East during this year or in the coming months, God willing,” the PA chairman said.
Trump’s senior advisor and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has visited the region several times as part of the administration’s efforts to restart stalled peace talks.
While Netanyahu thanked Trump and the delegation led by Kushner for their efforts to pursue peace and stability in the region, PA officials have expressed pessimism that Washington’s peace efforts can bear fruit.
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