Abbas’ blunt admonition of UN and US - GulfToday

Abbas’ blunt admonition of UN and US


Mahmoud Abbas. File

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, speaking at the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly, dropped the diplomatic tone and squarely placed the blame for the plight of the Palestinian people at the door of the United Nations and the United States. Abbas said, “Why is Israel held unaccountable for its violations of international law? Who is doing this? You, the UN allow this, and on top of this, the most powerful in the UN.

Why these double standards? Why do they not treat us equally?” He made it plain that Israel does not want to be a partner in peace, and that it refuses to return to the peace talks, and that it wants to persist with the use of force. He described the situation between Israel and Palestine as one of “occupying state, and occupied people,” one of inequality.

Observers back in Palestine think that Abbas had indeed stated the facts and spoke frankly, but they want to know whether he would derecognise Israel with its pre-1967 borders if it did not withdraw from the occupied territories. It was noticed that Abbas did not refer to it at all in his speech this year.

He also had threatened to dissolve the Palestinian Authority (PA) and end security cooperation with Israel. Basem Naim, of the political department of Hamas in Gaza nailed the fault-lines in Abbas’ speech. He said, “As long as Abbas’ words are not translated into action, they will remain just the media news for 24 hours. Israel will not change its position on the PA based on Abbas’ speech.” He said that Abbas should implement the decision of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), which is a coalition of many groups, and Fatah of Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas is one of them, to derecognize Israel and end security cooperation with Israel.

Speaking earlier at the UNGA, Israel’s Prime Minister Yair Lapid laid down the conditions for moving towards a two-state solution: “Despite all the obstacles, still today a large majority of Israelis support the vision of this two-state solution. I am one of them. We have only one condition: That a future Palestine will be a peaceful one.”

Lapid was more focused in his criticism of Israel’s nuclear programme and what he thinks is Tehran’s bid to acquire a nuclear weapon which poses a direct security threat to Israel. Even as Abbas blamed the UN for not acting against Israel, Lapid asked as to why the international community and the UN are not acting against Iran which wants to destroy Israel.

It is quite unlikely that the UN will act against Iran except through some form of sanctions, and inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). And Abbas’ pleas over Israel will fall on deaf ears because Lapid has argued in his speech that Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza are posing a threat to civilians in Israel.

And he is using this as a pretext to imply the reason for Israel’s reluctance to vacate the West Bank settlements. And Abbas does not have either influence or control over Hamas and Islamic Jihad. He cannot give guarantees to Israel that no rockets will be fired from Gaza. That places Abbas in a difficult position. The hands of Abbas would be strengthened if Hamas and Fatah reach understanding and pursue a common strategy to deal with Israel. Hamas must agree to peace talks with Israel however disagreeable it may seem to them. A divided Palestine gives Israel the pretext to arrive at a peace solution. And there is no doubt that Israel will argue that an independent Palestinian state cannot have its own army as a guarantee for peace which will be unacceptable to the Palestinians.

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