NEW YORK – In his UN speech on Friday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas referred to the “positive development” of Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s support for the two-state solution during his address the previous day. But he spent the bulk of his own remarks reiterating complaints against the Israeli government and security forces for their treatment of Palestinians as well as the international community for failing to “protect” their people.
“When we hear something positive, we accept it,” Abbas said, referring to remarks by both Lapid and US President Joe Biden in favor of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “I heard him support the two-state solution and we are grateful for that.”
“But the real test of the seriousness and credibility of this stance… is for the Israeli government to immediately get back on the negotiating table,” the PA president said, adding that Israel should take all unilateral actions such as settlement building, demolishing houses. should stop. , evictions and “murders.”
“Israel, through its pre-planned and deliberate policies, is destroying the two-state solution,” he told the General Assembly.
“This clearly proves that Israel does not believe in peace,” he said. “So, we no longer have an Israeli partner we can talk to.”
Expressing a desire to revive talks, he urged Israel: “You should at least temporarily stop [unilateral measures]… and if [the negotiations] You can go back to whatever you want to do if you fail,” he said.
Much of the speech focused on lashing out at Israel for the alleged crimes he said he accused of operating an “apartheid” regime against Palestinians during and since the establishment of the Jewish state.
Abbas, 87, said Israel is engaged in a land-confiscation campaign and is giving the military “absolute freedom” to use excessive force against the Palestinians or to kill them.
“It’s true: they are an apartheid regime,” he said.
He accused Israel of committing “50 genocide” – almost repeating a line that got him round condemned in Germany last month, when he accused Israel of committing “50 genocide, 50 holocausts” against Palestinians over the years. This time, Abbas did not use the word “pralaya”.
“Israel has committed 50 genocide since 1948 to the present day,” he said. He said the most recent of those “genocides” occurred in Gaza during the May 2021 war that Israel fought against Hamas. Abbas had grabbed the front page of The New York Times, which contained photographs of 67 children killed during the war. Israel opposed the article at the time, saying that Hamas was responsible for many of those deaths.
Echoing an allegation made by Jordan’s King Abdullah on the same platform this week, Abbas accused Israel of “targeting” Christian and Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem. Israel rejected the claim, saying that the only religion that does not enjoy full freedom of worship in Jerusalem is Judaism, noting that the status quo governing conduct on the Temple Mount allows Jews to pray there. prevents from Critics counter that Israel has allowed the status quo on the Flashpoint site to be destroyed and are demanding to seize Church-owned land in the Holy City.
Abbas photographed those attacking Israeli police and mourners during a funeral procession for slain Al Jazeera journalist Shirin Abu Aqleh. Abbas again said she was killed “intentionally” by an Israeli sniper and lamented the Biden administration’s refusal to prosecute those involved, even though she was a US citizen. The US and Israel say Abu Aqleh was killed by an Israeli soldier by accident during shelling sparked by an IDF raid in the Palestinian city of Jenin.
He accused Israel of “wrongly applying curricula” to Palestinian schools in East Jerusalem, which has weighed in on a recent conflict. entangled the capital,
Abbas has seen his popularity waning due to his continued association with Israel and his refusal to hold elections for more than 15 years. He insisted again on Friday that he was ready to vote immediately, but could not do so because Israel refused to allow Palestinians to participate in East Jerusalem. However, analysts believe the decision has to do with fears of significant gains by the Hamas terrorist group at the cost of its Fatah movement.
The PA president pointed to his objection to votes by the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s Council in 2015 to suspend recognition of Israel and to end security coordination with the IDF, which Israel and the US called to maintain stability in the West Bank. Gave credit
Abbas said he had tried to stall the implementation of those proposals in the hope that diplomatic talks with Israel would lead to success. “We told them to wait a while and be patient [because] Maybe they will change their stand,” he recalled.
The PA leader did not explicitly say that he would suspend recognition of Israel as he has threatened to do so in the past. However, he indicated that he would not be able to deter critics for long and called on the international community to act.
Several times during the 47-minute remarks, Abbas urged the international community to support his initiative for the Palestinian UN mission to attain full member status in the United Nations. Since 2012, it has achieved observer status, which has allowed it to join international bodies, but which is largely symbolic in most cases.
The Biden administration has warned the PA not to pursue the initiative, indicating that it would use its veto on the Security Council to block a vote in the General Assembly.
Abbas suggested that the US position was unlikely to change, he had few other options. However, he objected to the stance, saying Washington’s support for the two-state solution was only in words, not in action. America “Drama”[s] To uphold international law and human rights,” he later said that the US and UK were involved in the Nakba – the Arabic term for the devastation used by Palestinians to describe the establishment of Israel.
Meanwhile, Abbas said he would immediately apply for admission to several international bodies, including the World Health Organization and the World Intellectual Property Organisation.
It would likely spark the Biden administration, given the longstanding Congressional law requiring the US to pull funding from UN bodies that accept membership from Palestinians before the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is resolved.
Before concluding his speech, Abbas paid tribute to the “Palestinian “martyrs” who gave “their blood” for the Palestinian cause and expressed complete solidarity with the “brave” Palestinians imprisoned in Israeli prisons.
“They are living martyrs… and we will not leave them until they regain their freedom,” Abbas said.
He did not comment specifically on the PA’s stipends to prisoners and their families, which Israel and the US cite as an incentive for terror.
Abbas has told US officials privately over the years that he is ready to reform the policy, branded by critics as “pay-to-slay”. However, given the heavily unpopular nature of such a move, no move has been announced to that effect.
Lapid’s decision to offer in-principle support for a Palestinian state on the world stage marked a sharp change from addresses over the past five years by former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who largely used the pulpit to speak out against Iran. And what he said was a Palestinian rejection of Israel’s peace efforts. In 2016, Netanyahu said in a UN plenum that he was committed to a two-state approach, but later rejected the comments.
Lapid said Israel had only one condition for a Palestinian state: “that a future Palestinian state will be peaceful. That it will not become another terrorist base, threatening Israel’s well-being and existence. that we will have the ability to safeguard the safety of all the citizens of Israel at all times.”
“You can ask us to live according to the values in the United Nations Charter,” he said, “but you cannot ask us to die for them.”
Lapid’s call for a two-state solution in his speech drew condemnation from the right side of his governing coalition, as well as Netanyahu, who is currently the opposition leader and his main rival in the upcoming elections.