Mideast peace only possible when Palestinians get full rights: Abbas to UNGA

Ahram Online , AFP , Friday 22 Sep 2023

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday there could be no peace in the Middle East without a two-state solution.

Mahmoud Abbas
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas addresses the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023. Photo: AP


"Whoever thinks peace in the Middle East is possible before our people achieved their full right is delusional,” Abbas said.

“Once again, I come to you bearing the cause of my people, who have been struggling for freedom and independence, to remind you of their tragedy caused by the Nakba for seventy-five years”, he said.

“Its consequences are still escalating due to the Israeli occupation of our land, an occupation that defies your resolutions, which have exceeded a thousand”, the veteran 87-year-old leader added.

Abu Mazen made a new appeal to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to call an international conference on creating a Palestinian state.

The United States, historically the peace broker between the two sides, has all but given up on serious negotiations with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's hard-right government, which has pushed forward illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.

A UN conference "may be the last opportunity to salvage the two-state solution and to prevent the situation from deteriorating more seriously and threatening the security and stability of our region and the entire world," Abbas said.

The deadlock has coincided with a spike of Israeli violence in the West Bank and in Jerusalem.

Saudi-Israeli talks

Abbas address came as the United States appeared to make progress in brokering a normalization deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia.

In an interview with Fox News on Wednesday, Saudi Arabia's, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, said that the process was getting "closer."

Yet he said, "for us, the Palestinian issue is very important. We need to solve that part," when asked what it would take to get a normalization agreement. "And we have a good negotiations strategy till now."

"We got to see where we go. We hope that will reach a place that will ease the life of the Palestinians and get Israel as a player in the Middle East," he added.

The broadcast of the crown prince's interview came on the same day as a long-waited meeting between Biden and Netanyahu in which they pledged to work together toward Israeli-Saudi normalization.

Under the “Abraham Accords” brokered by former US President Donald Trump, Israel has normalized relations, with five Arab states -- three of them in 2020 including the United Arab Emirates, which said its decision persuaded Netanyahu to drop a plan for West Bank annexation.

But Netanyahu returned to power in December with a coalition that includes extremists and ultra-Orthodox parties which denies the very existence of Palestinians.

'Apartheid policies'

Abbas further denounced the "apartheid" policies by Israel. "Its racist, terrorist settlers continue to intimidate and kill our people, to destroy homes and property, to steal our money and resources," Abbas said.

"This is done before the very eyes of the world and with complete impunity," he said.

The United States has made no major push on a two-state solution since a failed effort nearly a decade ago by John Kerry, with Donald Trump's administration instead blessing Israeli actions.

This month marks three decades since Israel and the Palestinians signed at the White House the Oslo Accords, which established limited self-government under the Palestinian Authority but never led to a lasting solution.

Short link: