Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas spoke at the United Nations General Assembly Wednesday, hours after Israel launched airstrikes on Gaza, announcing that his country will no longer abide by the peace agreements with Israel, and that Palestine will go back to being a state under occupation.
“Israel has thus left us no choice but to insist that we will not remain the only ones committed to the continuation of those agreements while Israel continuously violates them,” he said.
“As long as Israel is not committed … we for our part are not committed and Israel must bear full responsibility,” he argued, making it clear however that Palestine will not resort to violence.
Abbas had hinted he would drop a “bombshell” in his speech. Early in the speech he said, “The continuation of the status quo is unacceptable, because it means giving in to brutal force inflicted by the Israeli government.”
Watch Abbas's full speech below
teleSUR’s correspondent in Gaza, Noor Harazeen had reported Tuesday, before Abbas’ speech, that his announcement might involve a threat to dissolve the Oslo Accords, which set up the current governance arrangement, known as the two-state solution, between Israel and the Palestinian Authority 20 years ago, and re-declare Palestine an occupied territory.
Abbas declared Wednesday, “We will not accept temporary solutions or a fragmented state,” continuing, “We will seek to form a national unity government.”
Just an hour earlier at the U.N. Security Council, Venezuela also called on the U.N . to not “be hypocritical” and to be a leader in enforcing international law, which Israel is violating, and combat terrorism at its roots. Venezuela accused the Israeli state of terrorist acts against Palestine.
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Abbas demanded U.N. support: “I call on the U.N. … to protect the people of Palestine … we need your protection … we are being hit from all sides, we have no protector … please, please please, we call upon you, we plead with you.”
Abbas said that his country must be included in a solution, “It is from Palestine and with Palestine that peace will be achieved.”
He thanked those European countries that this year changed their position on the legitimacy of Palestinian statehood. “If you support the two-state solution then you have to recognize both states,” he urged the rest of the world.
Harazeen says that Abbas is between a rock and a hard place and that his speech should either be strong enough to take a true stand on behalf of his people, or he risks being called weak in the face of Israeli aggression. Ma’an news agency reports that the Hamas movement, which shares power with Abbas’ Fatah party in the Palestinian Authority, had urged Abbas to call off all agreements with Israel in his U.N. speech.
Abbas’ speech was prefaced by an article he wrote for The Huffington Post on Tuesday, where he accuses Israel of “ethnic cleansing,” and that what Palestinians are going through is “even more dire” than apartheid.
“While the Israeli government pays lip service to the two-state solution internationally, domestically it employs policies aimed at destroying what’s left of Palestine,” he wrote.
Israel’s renewed aggression toward Palestine in recent weeks alone, Harazeen says, shows Israel is not willing to work within the peace agreement. It has bombed the Palestinian enclave of Gaza on two separate occasions and there has been Israeli police brutality towards Muslim worshippers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
Abbas will go directly to the U.N. rose garden, where he will participate in a ceremony with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to raise the Palestinian flag for the first time at the United Nations, in spite of condemnation from Israel.
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