If the Israeli occupation authorities continue to strengthen one apartheid state, as it is doing today, the Palestinian people and the whole world will not tolerate such a situation, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said during Friday’s speech to the UN General Assembly.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has accused Israel of “apartheid” and “ethnic cleansing.” The Associated Press notes that this was very unusual behavior for the 85-year-old president who had long been a supporter of a two-state solution to the Middle East conflict.
During Friday’s speech to the UN General Assembly, he gave Israel one year to withdraw from the occupied territories. “If the Israeli occupation authorities continue to strengthen one apartheid state, as they do today, the Palestinian people and the whole world will not tolerate such a situation,” Abbas announced. “Circumstances will inevitably enforce equal and full political rights throughout historic Palestine,” he added.
President of Palestine on the possibility of withdrawing recognition of the Jewish state
He said he was willing to negotiate the final frontiers, but warned that if Israel did not definitively end its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, the territories seized in 1967, and East Jerusalem, it would reconsider the recognition of a Jewish state.
The recognition of Israel by the Palestinians was the cornerstone of the 1993 Oslo Accords with which the Middle East Peace Process began. These negotiations stalled a decade ago, and current Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is against the creation of a Palestinian state.
As the PA comments, Abbas’s UN appearance is likely intended for voters in the Autonomy, where his popularity has declined and polls show that nearly 80 percent of Palestinians want him to resign.
The PA also estimates that Abbas’s threats will probably remain rhetoric, as their implementation would mean the end of the Palestinian Authority, which was established under the Oslo Accords. The Abbas government is also highly dependent on foreign aid, and the international community supports a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
In late August, when Israel’s Defense Minister Beni Ganc met with Abbas, and this was the first such high-level meeting since 2014, there were opinions that this could mean a shift in the Israeli government’s policy towards the Palestinian Authority after years of close relations.
During the meeting, Israel assured that it would take steps to strengthen the Palestinian economy. The Israeli prime minister, despite his opposition to a two-state solution to the conflict, advocates the development of the Palestinian Authority and its economy, and expresses his willingness to support Abbas in his rivalry with the radical Hamas group ruling in the Gaza Strip.
Main photo source: JOHN ANGELILLO / PAP / EPA