Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas had an eventful time at the UN this week.
On Wednesday Abbas raised the Palestinian flag for the first time at the UN, after a resolution permitting non member states to do so was recently passed by a landslide majority of the UN general assembly. The US didn’t send a representative to the event, but other Western nations including France did. Abbas promised that the flag will soon be raised in Jerusalem, “the capital of our Palestinian state.”
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called Wednesday a day of “pride” and “hope” for Palestinians around the world. He urged the Palestinians to pursue their long-held dream for their own state by first uniting Gaza and the West Bank, and he urged Israel and the Palestinians to revive negotiations that collapsed last year and conclude “a successful peace process that will lead to the unfurling of the Palestinian flag in its proper place – among the family of nations as a sovereign member state of the United Nations,” Ban said.
But wait…there’s more.
In his official address to the UN general assembly on Wednesday, Abbas stated that he is no longer bound by agreements, including the Oslo Accords, that have defined relations with Israel for the past two decades and are meant to form the basis for a two-state solution to the Middle East conflict.
Abbas demanded that Israel “assume all of its responsibilities as an occupying power.” He stopped short of suspending security cooperation with Israel.
PM Netanyahu’s office issued a statement in response, saying that Abbas had delivered a “speech of lies that encourages incitement and unrest in the Middle East.”
Netanyahu called on Abbas to “act responsibly” and answer his proposal for direct negotiations with Israel without any preconditions. “The fact that time after time he (Abbas) does not respond is the best proof that he has no intention of reaching a peace agreement,” he said.
[bctt tweet=”“The fact that time after time he (Abbas) does not respond is the best proof that he has no intention of reaching a peace agreement” – Bibi” via=”no”]
Will Abbas’s speech lead to any practical change on the ground, other than the potential of inciting terror attacks? According to Palestinian analyst Hani al-Masri in Ramallah, Abbas was just trying to attract attention and pressure Israel. “This is a threat not a plan. Abbas has no plan, otherwise he could have spelled it out in his speech.” Nevertheless, his move will definitely not result in anything positive for Israel. Things could get much worse for both sides.
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