While nodding to Lapid’s support for two states, Abbas said Israel was “destroying” opportunities

NEW YORK – In his address to the United Nations on Friday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas referred to the “positive development” of Prime Minister Yair Lapid, expressing support for a two-state solution during his speech the day before. But he spent the bulk of his remarks repeating grievances against the Israeli government and security forces for their treatment of Palestinians as well as the international community for their failure to “protect” his people.

“When we hear something positive, we acknowledge it,” Abbas said, referring to statements by Lapid and US President Joe Biden in favor of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I have heard that they support the two-state solution and we are grateful for that.

“But the real test of the seriousness and credibility of this position… is for the Israeli government to return to the negotiating table immediately,” the Palestinian Authority president said, adding that Israel must stop all unilateral measures such as settlement building and home demolitions. Evictions and “killings”.

He told the General Assembly that Israel “is working through its deliberate and deliberate policies to destroy the two-state solution.”

“This proves conclusively that Israel does not believe in peace,” he added. “Therefore, we no longer have an Israeli partner that we can talk to.”

Expressing his readiness to revive negotiations, he urged Israel: “You should at least stop for a while [unilateral measures]… If [the negotiations] Fail and then you can go back to what you want to do,” he said.

Much of the speech focused on blaming Israel for a range of alleged crimes it said it committed during and after the establishment of the Jewish state, accusing it of applying a system of “apartheid” against the Palestinians.

Abbas, 87, said Israel was engaged in a campaign to confiscate land and give the army “total freedom” to kill Palestinians or use excessive force against them.

“Here’s the truth: They are an apartheid regime,” he said.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas raises the front page of the New York Times showing the children killed in the conflict between Israel and Hamas in May 2021 as he addresses the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on September 23, 2022. (Michael M./Getty Images/AFP)

He accused Israel of committing “fifty massacres” – almost repeating the line that made him turn around convicted In Germany last month when he accused Israel of committing “50 massacres and 50 holocausts” against the Palestinians over the years. This time, Abbas did not use the word “Holocaust”.

He said that “Israel has committed 50 massacres since 1948 until today.” He said that the last of those “massacres” took place in Gaza during the May 2021 war that Israel fought against Hamas. Abbas lifted the front page of the New York Times, which included photographs of 67 children killed during the war. Israel protested the article at the time, saying that Hamas was responsible for many of those deaths.

Echoing an accusation made by Jordan’s King Abdullah in the same theater this week, Abbas accused Israel of “targeting” Christian and Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem. Israel rejects this claim, saying that the only religion that does not have complete freedom of worship in Jerusalem is Judaism, given that the status quo that governs behavior on the Temple Mount prevents Jews from praying there. Critics respond that Israel has allowed and sought to erode the status quo at the epicenter of tension confiscate Church grounds in the Holy City.

Abbas uploaded pictures of the occupation police attacking coffin bearers and mourners during the funeral of the slain Al-Jazeera journalist, Sherine Abu Akle. Abbas reiterated that she was “deliberately” killed by an Israeli sniper, and lamented the Biden administration’s refusal to prosecute those responsible even though she is an American citizen. The United States and Israel maintain that Abu Uqla was likely killed by accident by an Israeli soldier during a gun battle sparked by an IDF raid on the Palestinian city of Jenin.

Banners depicting the murdered Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh hang on a building overlooking the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem in the West Bank, July 14, 2022 (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP)

He accused Israel of “imposing false curricula” on Palestinian schools in East Jerusalem, overburdening the recent conflict that led to Involvement in the capital.

The PA president also highlighted what he said was an Israeli practice of forcing those who build a home illegally to choose between demolishing it themselves or Israeli authorities razing and then paying residents’ bills. Palestinians say they are forced to build illegally in East Jerusalem and parts of the West Bank because Israel rarely allows them building permits.

Abbas has seen his popularity plummet due to his continued cooperation with Israel and his refusal to hold elections for more than 15 years. He insisted again on Friday that he was ready to hold a vote immediately but could not because Israel refuses to allow Palestinians in East Jerusalem to participate. Analysts have emphasized, although the decision is more related to fears of achieving significant gains for Hamas at the expense of the Fatah movement that it leads.

The PA president indicated his objection to the PLO Council’s vote in 2015 to suspend recognition of Israel and end security coordination with the Israeli military, which Israel and the United States owe for maintaining stability in the West Bank.

Abbas said he tried to obstruct the implementation of those decisions in the hope that they would lead to a breakthrough in diplomatic negotiations with Israel. “We told them to wait a while and be patient [because] “Maybe they will change their attitude,” he recalls.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas raises a graphic as he addresses the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly at United Nations Headquarters in New York on September 23, 2022 (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP)

The PA president did not go so far as to state explicitly that he would suspend recognition of Israel, as he had threatened in the past. However, he indicated that he would not be able to fend off critics for much longer, and called on the international community to act.

Several times during the 47-minute remarks, Abbas appealed to the international community to support his initiative for the Palestinian United Nations Mission to obtain full membership in the United Nations. Since 2012, it has had observer status, which allows it to join international bodies, but in most cases it is largely symbolic.

The Biden administration warned the Palestinian Authority not to go ahead with the initiative, noting that it would use its veto in the Security Council to prevent a vote in the General Assembly.

Abbas has indicated that the US position is unlikely to change, leaving him with few other options. However, he continued to contest the situation, saying that Washington’s support for a two-state solution is only in words and not in deeds. The United States “pretend”[s] In order to uphold international law and human rights,” he said, later, he said the US and UK were complicit in the Nakba – the Arabic word for disaster that Palestinians use to describe the establishment of Israel.

Meanwhile, Abbas said he would immediately apply to join several international bodies, namely the World Health Organization, the World Intellectual Property Organization, and the International Civil Aviation Organization.

This is likely to irritate the Biden administration, given long-standing congressional legislation that requires the United States to withdraw funding from UN bodies that accept membership from the Palestinians before there is a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ address to the United Nations General Assembly is broadcast at the United Nations in New York, September 23, 2022 (Luke Tress/Times of Israel)

Before he finished his speech, Abbas praised the Palestinian “martyrs” who sacrificed their “blood” for the Palestinian cause and expressed full solidarity with the “brave” Palestinians imprisoned in Israeli prisons.

“They are living martyrs,” Abbas said. “We will not leave them until they get their freedom.”

He did not comment specifically on the allocations the Palestinian Authority gives to prisoners and their families, which Israel and the United States have described as incentives for terrorism.

Abbas has told US officials for years in private that he is willing to reform a policy that critics have described as “pay for murder.” However, no moves to this effect have been announced, likely given the unpopular nature of such a move.

Lapid’s decision to grant initial support for a Palestinian state on the world stage marked a sharp turn of headlines in the past five years for former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who used the platform largely to speak out against Iran and what he said was Palestinian. He rejected Israeli peace efforts. In 2016, Netanyahu told the UN plenary session that he was committed to the two-state vision, but later disavowed the comments.

Prime Minister Yair Lapid addresses the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN Headquarters in New York City, September 22, 2022. (Avi Ohayon/GPO)

Lapid said that Israel only has one condition for the establishment of a Palestinian state: “That the future Palestinian state be a peaceful state. That it will not become another base of terror from which the well-being and existence of Israel can be threatened. That we will have the ability to protect the security of all of Israel’s citizens, at all times.” “.

“You can ask us to live according to the values ​​enshrined in the UN Charter, but you can’t ask us to die for them,” he said.

Lapid’s call for a two-state solution in his speech drew condemnation from the right wing of his ruling coalition, as well as from Netanyahu, the opposition leader and his main challenger in the upcoming elections.

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