Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas delivered a speech at the United Nations General Assembly on Friday, in which he accused Israel of “destroying the two-state solution” through “premeditated and deliberate policies.”
“This proves unequivocally that Israel does not believe in peace,” he said. “Therefore, we no longer have an Israeli partner to whom we can talk.”
Abbas’ remarks come one day after Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said to the General Assembly that “an agreement with the Palestinians, based on two states for two peoples, is the right thing for Israel’s security, for Israel’s economy and for the future of our children,” a statement he received heat for in Israel.
Lapid noted that the Jewish state has only one condition for the pursuit of two-states down the road, that “a future Palestinian state … be a peaceful one.”
U.S. President Joe Biden, who advocated for a “two-state solution” in his own U.N. address, said on social media that he “could not agree more” with Lapid’s “courageous statement.”
However, former-Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the content and timing of the speech, saying that “after the right-wing government that I led removed the Palestinian issue from the international agenda and brought four historic peace agreements with Arab states bypassing the Palestinian veto – Lapid is returning the Palestinians to the world’s center stage.”
In his speech, the 86-year-old Abbas said that “the true test of the credibility and seriousness of this stance is for the Israeli government to return to the negotiation table immediately.”
He made it clear that he views the relationship between the two sides of the conflict as an “occupying state” and an “occupied people,” and stressed that, as the Palestinians will “only deal with Israel as such,” the international community should treat Israel in the same way.
Invoking the death of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, Abbas stated that an Israeli sniper “deliberately killed her;” the Israel Defense Forces decidedly rejects that this was the case. Abbas also dared the United States to prosecute the unnamed killer of the American-Palestinian national.
The self-dubbed president of the P.A. slammed the Israeli residents of Judea and Samaria, saying “the terrorist settlers are killing the Palestinian people in broad daylight, stealing their lands and water, burning and demolishing their homes, and forcing them to pay the price for the demolition, or forc[ing] them to demolish it with their own hands and uproot their trees, all with official protection.”
Abbas highlighted four “extreme right-wing” Israeli organizations – The Hilltop Youth, Price Tag, Lehava and Temple Trustees – and demanded that the international community include them on a terror list.
Abbas is currently in the 18th year of what was meant to be a four-year tenure. Yet he even blamed Israel on the world stage for the “postponement” of the Palestinian elections.
“We did not cancel the elections; we only postponed them,” he said.