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Abbas’s speech to UN General Assembly, transcript

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This is an official transcript of Mahmoud Abbas’s speech to the United Nations General Assembly today. PDF here. Abbas was introduced as president of the state of Palestine.
Mr. President of the General Assembly of the United Nations,
Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
At the outset, I extend my congratulations to H.E. Mr. Vuk Jeremid on his outstandingly successful presidency of the previous session of the General Assembly, and I congratulate Mr. John Ashe upon his
assumption of this session’s Presidency and wish him all success.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am honored to address you today, and for the first time in the name of the State of Palestine, before the United Nations General Assembly, after your historic decision last 29 November to raise
Palestine’s status to that of an observer State. As representatives of your Governments and of your peoples, you have championed justice, right, and peace, and thereby affirmed your refusal of
occupation, and stood for principles and ethics and on the side of peoples yearning for freedom. For this, I present you again today with my deepest thanks and gratitude, in the name of Palestine and of its
people. The Palestinian people celebrated this resolution, because they rightly felt that they did not stand alone in the world, but that the world stands with them, and because they realized that the result of your overwhelming vote meant that justice is still possible and that there still is room for hope.
Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I assured you last year that our quest to raise Palestine’s status does not aim to delegitimize an existing State – Israel, but to consecrate the legitimacy of a State that must exist, which is Palestine. I have also affirmed in front of you that our quest does not aim to affect the peace process, nor is it a substitute for serious negotiations. To the contrary, our quest is supportive of the path of peace and has revived a comatose process. As we have repeatedly affirmed, and as we have proven in practice, the State of Palestine, which abides by the United Nations Charter, by international humanitarian law and by the resolutions of international legitimacy, will exercise its role and uphold its responsibilities in the intemational system in a positive and constructive manner, and in a way that reinforces peace.
A new round of negotiations began a few weeks ago thanks to the appreciated, tireless efforts of the President of the United States, Mr. Barack Obama, and of the US Secretary of State, Mr. John Kerry. I
affirm before you that we have begun these negotiations and that we shall continue them in good faith and with open minds, strong determination and an insistence on success. I assure you that we shall
respect all of our commitments and foster the most conducive atmosphere for the continuation of these negotiations in a serious, intensive manner and provide the guarantees for its success, aimed at reaching
a peace accord within nine months.
Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen,
As we engage in this new round of negotiations, we must recall and remind that we do not start in a vacuum or from point zero, nor are we lost in a labyrinth without a map, nor do we lack a compass so as to lose sight of the finish line and of the destination. The goal of peace that we seek is defined and the objective of these negotiations is clear to all, and the terms of reference, basis and foundations of the peace process and of the agreement we seek are longstanding and are within reach. As for the goal of peace, it is embodied in redressing the historic, unprecedented injustice that has befallen the Palestinian people in Al-Nakba of 1948, and the realization of a just peace, the fruits of which can be enjoyed by the Palestinian and Israeli peoples, as well as by all the peoples of our region.
The objective of the negotiations is to secure a lasting peace accord that leads immediately to the establishment of the independence of a fully sovereign State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, on all of the Palestinian lands occupied in 1967, so that it may live in peace and security alongside the State of Israel, and the resolution of the plight of Palestine refugees in a just agreed upon solution, according to United Nations resolution 194, as called for by the Arab Peace Initiative. Here, we reaffirm that we refuse to enter into a vortex of a new interim agreement that becomes eternalized, or to enter into transitional arrangements that will become a fixed rule rather than an urgent exception. Our objective is to achieve a permanent and comprehensive agreement and a peace treaty between the States of Palestine and Israel that resolves all outstanding issues and answers all questions, which allows us to officially declare an end of conflict and claims.
The terms of reference and parameters of these negotiations, its goals, and the basis of the agreement we seek are found in your historic decision to raise Palestine’s status, as well as in the countless resolutions of this august body and the resolutions of the Security Council, and in those of the Arab League, of the European Union, of the Non-Aligned Movement, the African Union, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. In fact, over the years, these parameters have come to form an international consensus.
Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Twenty years ago, precisely on 13 September 1993, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, signed with the Government of Israel a
Declaration of Principles Agreement (Oslo Accords), in the presence of our departed leader, Yasser Ararat, and Yitzhak Rabin, the late Israeli Prime Minister, and of former President Bill Clinton on the
White House lawn in Washington.
On 15 November 1988, the Palestinian National Council adopted our program for the achievement of peace, thereby taking an extremely difficult decision and making a historical and painful concession.
However, as representatives of the Palestinian people, we have long been aware of our responsibilities towards our people and had the necessary courage to accept a two-State solution: Palestine and Israel
on the borders of 4 June 1967, establishing a Palestinian State on 22% of the land of historic Palestine. Thus, we did our part to realize a historic settlement, uphold our obligations, and fulfill all that the
international community set as requirements from the Palestinian side in order to attain peace. At the same time that the PLO affirmed its choice of peace as a strategic option and of a solution resulting from negotiations, it firmly repudiated violence and affirmed an ethical, principled rejection of terrorism in all its forms, especially State terrorism, and affirmed our respect of international humanitarian law and United Nations resolutions. As a genuine historical breakthrough, the signature of the Oslo Accords caused an unprecedented political dynamism, fostered great hopes and generated high expectations. The PLO worked with dedication to implement it in order to end the occupation and to realize a just peace.
But after the passage of twenty years, the picture appears dispiriting and bleak, the great dreams shattered, and the goals more modest. As much as we felt in those days that peace was at hand, we realize today how far we are away from it. For the goal of the Accords was not achieved, its provisions not implemented, and its deadlines not respected. And, all the while, the continuation of intense settlement construction, which aims to change the facts on the ground in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, has violated the spirit of the agreement, struck at the core of the peace process, and caused a deep fracture in its cornerstone – that of the two-State solution.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
The start of a new round of negotiations is good news, but it cannot be sufficient grounds for relaxing vigilance or give the international community an exaggerated sense of tranquility. The negotiations we are undertaking with the Israeli Government under the auspices of the United States require that the international community exert every effort to make them succeed, namely by international and regional organizations, as well as by individual States upholding the international consensus on the goal of peace, the objectives of the negotiations, the terms of reference and the basis for a permanent peace agreement. At the same time, the international community is asked to remain alert to condemn and stop any actions on the ground that would undermine negotiations – and I refer here, above all, to the continuation of settlement construction on our Palestinian land, particularly in Jerusalem. There is an international consensus – among the countries of the world, international and regional organizations and
the International Court of Justice – on the illegality and illegitimacy of these settlements. The position of the European Union with regard to settlement products is a positive model of what is possible to be
done in order to ensure an environment supportive of the negotiations and the peace process. At the same time, it is imperative that the near-daily attacks on the religious sites in Occupied Jerusalem, at the forefront of which is A1-Aqsa Mosque, where the continuation of such attacks will have dire consequences.
Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen,
History teaches us – and it is the best teacher – that waging war, occupation, settlements and walls may provide temporary quiet and a momentary domination, but they certainly do not ensure real security nor guarantee a sustainable peace. Such policies may create a specific reality on the ground, but they certainly do not create a right, nor do they provide legitimacy. Such policies may impose a weak stability, but they cannot prevent an inevitable explosion, because such polices in fact fuel inflamed situations to explosion. But above all, such policies are incapable of extinguishing the aspiration of a people for freedom and cannot eradicate their living memory or eradicate their narrative. Therefore, what is required is to heed the lesson of history, to abandon the mentality of force and occupation, to recognize the rights of others, and to deal on an equal footing and parity to make peace. What is required is to stop relying on exaggerated security pretexts and obsessions in order to consecrate occupation, and to stop contriving demands that push the conflict from its defined political terrain towards the abyss of religious conflict in a region burdened with such sensitivities – a matter that we categorically refuse.
Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am confident that the Israeli people want peace, and that its majority supports a two-State solution. We have always expressed our firm positions and have always explained them at the negotiations table
with the Israeli Government and in the meetings and contacts we have intensified in the recent years with a wide spectrum of actors in Israeli society. Our message stems from the idea that the two peoples, the Palestinian and the Israeli, are partners in the task of peacemaking. This is why we keep reaching out to the Israeli side saying: let us work to make the culture of peace reign, to tear down walls, to build bridges instead of walls, to open wide roads for connection and communication. Let us sow the seeds of good neighborliness. Let us envision another future that the children of Palestine and of Israel enjoy with peace and security, and where they can dream and realize their dreams, a future that allows Muslims, Christians and Jews to freely reach places of worship; and a future in which Israel will gain the recognition of 57 Arab and Muslim countries and where the States of Palestine and Israel will coexist in peace, in order to realize each people’s hopes for progress and prosperity.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
While we discuss the realization of peace between Palestine and Israel as an imperative to achieve a comprehensive peace between the Arab countries and Israel, according to the resolutions of the United
Nations; we bear in mind the current volatile reality and unprecedented dynamics gripping our region. Palestine does not interfere in the internal affairs of Arab countries, but we have clearly affirmed our
stance beside the demands of the peoples, their choices, and their peaceful popular movements to achieve these demands, along with the programs and roadmaps they have adopted to reach their goals.
Further, while we condemned the crime of the use of chemical weapons in Syria, we have affirmed our rejection of a military solution and the need to find a peaceful political solution to fulfill the aspirations
of the Syrian people.
Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen,
The overwhelming majority of the Palestinian people were born in Palestine and in exile after the 1948 Al-Nakba. But after the passage of 65 years, they are still its direct victims. Since the start of this
year, 27 Palestinian citizens have been killed and 951 have been wounded by the bullets of the occupation, and 5000 fighters for freedom and peace are held captive in occupation prisons. So, does
anyone deserve more than the Palestinian people ending this occupation and realizing a just and immediate peace?
This year and in the last few years, Palestine refugees continue to pay – despite their neutrality – the price of conflict and instability in our region. Tens of thousands are forced to abandon their camps and
to flee in another exodus searching for new places of exile. So, is there anyone more deserving than the Palestinian people to obtain justice, like the rest of the peoples of the world? 4 Since the beginning of the year, construction continues on thousands of settlement units and construction tenders have been issued for thousands of others on our occupied land, while yet more, large areas of land are expropriated or declared off limits, and 850 homes and structures have been demolished.
Palestinians are forbidden from planting their own land and from using the majority of the area of our country. They are prevented from using the water of their own country to irrigate their crops. The
wall and checkpoints continue to tear apart the lives of the Palestinian people and to destroy the economy. The siege grows tighter, along with attacks and oppressive discriminating measures against
Occupied Jerusalem, its holy places and its citizens. In Gaza, an unjust blockade continues to be imposed on our people. So, is there anyone more deserving than the Palestinian people to gain freedom and independence now?
Since the beginning of the year, 708 terrorist attacks have been perpetrated by settlers against our mosques and churches, and against olive trees, farming fields and homes and property of Palestinians.
Is there any doubt in anyone’s mind that the Palestinian people are the most in need of security? Is there a nobler mission on the international community’s agenda than realizing just peace in the
land of the monotheistic faiths, the nativity of Jesus Christ – peace be upon him, the ascent of the Prophet Muhammad – peace be upon him, and the resting place of Abraham, the father of the prophets,
peace be upon him?
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Palestinian people, as they continue to be steadfast on their land, also continue to build their institutions, to strengthen internal unity, to achieve reconciliation by returning to the ballot box, to wage peaceful, popular resistance to counter the oppression of occupation and settlements and settler terrorism, and continue to adhere to their rights. The Palestinian people do not want to remain “out of
place” in the words of Edward Said. Our people wait for a day when its cause ceases to be a fixed item on the agenda of the United Nations. Our people want to have freedom, God’s gift to humanity, and to
enjoy the grace of living an ordinary life. For we – as Mahmoud Darwish wrote – “cultivate hope”, and we “shall one day be what we want”: a free sovereign people on the land of the State of Palestine.
Mr. President,
I am personally one of the victims of Al-Nakba, among the hundreds of thousands of my people uprooted in 1948 from our beautiful world and thrown into exile. Like hundreds of thousands of Palestine refugees, I have known as a youth the pain of exile and the tragedy of the loss of loved ones in massacres and wars, and the difficulties of building a new life from zero. And we tasted in refugee  camps in exile the bitter taste of poverty, hunger, illness and humiliation, as well as rising to the challenge of affirming one’s identity. Our people have walked the path of armed revolution and rose from the ashes of Al-Nakba and collected the shards of its soul and its identity to present its cause to the world and consecrate the recognition of its rights. We have walked a long, difficult path and sacrificed dearly, and yet we
affirmed at all times our active quest for peacemaking.
I have signed, in the name of the PLO twenty years ago, the Declaration of Principles Agreement, and we have worked faithfully and diligently to implement it, affirming our respect for our commitments and the credibility of our positions. The successive setbacks did not shake our strong faith in the objective of a just peace, and we shall continue tirelessly and unwaveringly to see it realized. My own hope is to see the day where a just peace reigns so that the generation of Al-Nakba can pass on to its children and grandchildren the flag of an independent State of Palestine.
Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Time is running out, and the window of peace is narrowing and the opportunities are diminishing. The current round of negotiations appears to be a last chance to realize a just peace. Merely thinking of the catastrophic and frightening consequences of failure must compel the international community to intensify efforts to seize upon this chance.
Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen,
The hour of freedom for the Palestinian people has rung. The hour of the independence of Palestine has rung. The hour of peace has rung.
I thank you, Mr. President.
philweiss
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34 Responses

  1. yrn
    yrn
    September 26, 2013, 6:52 pm

    “I am confident that the Israeli people want peace, and that its majority supports a two-State solution.”
    Hallelujah.

    • DaveS
      DaveS
      September 26, 2013, 8:35 pm

      All people want peace, yrn. It’s the terms of the peace that are the problem. Israeli Jews want to peace-fully dominate non-Jewish people who live on the same land, and want the world to peacefully acquiesce to this ethnocracy. There may be some polls showing that a majority support some sort of two-state solution, but it’s not so important to Israelis that they would actually elect leaders who support a genuine settlement. Of course, election of leaders who will end all discrimination against non-Jewish citizens is unthinkable. Nor is there any reason to believe they ever will elect such leaders, without outside pressure to do so.

      • German Lefty
        German Lefty
        September 27, 2013, 6:56 am

        All people want peace, yrn. It’s the terms of the peace that are the problem.

        Exactly! Zionists want an unjust peace, whereas anti-Zionists want a just peace. These are two completely different things.

    • Kathleen
      Kathleen
      September 27, 2013, 7:43 am

      And yet the reality on the ground is that the Israeli people and their apartheid government do not want peace at all. Just more of the land, control of the water, air and ground space. If you want peace you do not continue to expand illegal settlements. As Abbas so clearly pointed out

  2. just
    just
    September 26, 2013, 6:53 pm

    I don’t often speak about Abbas, nor do I respond to the machinations of others demeaning him as a puppet– he’s not the worst guy in the room.

    I will endorse what he said:

    “Such policies may impose a weak stability, but they cannot prevent an inevitable explosion, because such polices in fact fuel inflamed situations to explosion. But above all, such policies are incapable of extinguishing the aspiration of a people for freedom and cannot eradicate their living memory or eradicate their narrative. Therefore, what is required is to heed the lesson of history, to abandon the mentality of force and occupation, to recognize the rights of others, and to deal on an equal footing and parity to make peace. What is required is to stop relying on exaggerated security pretexts and obsessions in order to consecrate occupation, and to stop contriving demands that push the conflict from its defined political terrain towards the abyss of religious conflict in a region burdened with such sensitivities – a matter that we categorically refuse.”

    “The overwhelming majority of the Palestinian people were born in Palestine and in exile after the 1948 Al-Nakba. But after the passage of 65 years, they are still its direct victims. Since the start of this
    year, 27 Palestinian citizens have been killed and 951 have been wounded by the bullets of the occupation, and 5000 fighters for freedom and peace are held captive in occupation prisons. So, does
    anyone deserve more than the Palestinian people ending this occupation and realizing a just and immediate peace?
    This year and in the last few years, Palestine refugees continue to pay – despite their neutrality – the price of conflict and instability in our region. Tens of thousands are forced to abandon their camps and
    to flee in another exodus searching for new places of exile. So, is there anyone more deserving than the Palestinian people to obtain justice, like the rest of the peoples of the world? 4 Since the beginning of the year, construction continues on thousands of settlement units and construction tenders have been issued for thousands of others on our occupied land, while yet more, large areas of land are expropriated or declared off limits, and 850 homes and structures have been demolished.
    Palestinians are forbidden from planting their own land and from using the majority of the area of our country. They are prevented from using the water of their own country to irrigate their crops. The
    wall and checkpoints continue to tear apart the lives of the Palestinian people and to destroy the economy. The siege grows tighter, along with attacks and oppressive discriminating measures against Occupied Jerusalem, its holy places and its citizens. In Gaza, an unjust blockade continues to be imposed on our people. So, is there anyone more deserving than the Palestinian people to gain freedom and independence now?”

    One fine speech– all of it!

    (imho– I actually had tears in my eyes and goosebumps on my soul. I hope the world ( I mean, the US finally listens)… finally, in my lifetime.)

    • Justpassingby
      Justpassingby
      September 27, 2013, 6:59 am

      Come on, ou shouldnt endorse this puppet.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        September 27, 2013, 11:04 am

        Come on, ou shouldnt endorse this puppet.

        Yes I do. He cut through the hasbara and collaborator bullshit and filed a criminal complaint in the Hague in the days after Cast Lead. He withstood threats, blackmail, and demands that he withdraw it. If that’s puppetry, we need more of it, not less.

      • Kathleen
        Kathleen
        September 27, 2013, 1:57 pm

        agree Hostage

  3. Whizdom
    Whizdom
    September 26, 2013, 10:00 pm

    Netanyahu next. Will he stay as classy as Rouhani and Abbas?

    • talknic
      talknic
      September 27, 2013, 12:00 am

      Bets are Netanyahu will repeat the same old tired nonsense like he did last year and the year before, overflowing with the same dishonesty. 2009 had at least 36 blatant lies http://wp.me/pDB7k-99

    • Justpassingby
      Justpassingby
      September 27, 2013, 6:58 am

      netayahus speech will be summed up in 4 words

      Lies, Racism, Warmongering, Holocaust

      • Kathleen
        Kathleen
        September 27, 2013, 7:45 am

        And the chosen people myth. Wonder if he mentioned his ring again?

  4. MahaneYehude1
    MahaneYehude1
    September 27, 2013, 1:46 am

    “The hour of freedom for the Palestinian people has rung. The hour of the independence of Palestine has rung. The hour of peace has rung”

    …and I call my government and to all parties of this conflict to listen to these words.

    • amigo
      amigo
      September 27, 2013, 7:54 am

      “and I call my government and to all parties of this conflict to listen to these words.”M1,2 or 3?.

      As you continue to spout hasbara BS here on MW.

      • MahaneYehude1
        MahaneYehude1
        September 27, 2013, 6:01 pm

        @amigo: so my comment was no more than Hasbara BS again? What will be with us, Amigo?

  5. Citizen
    Citizen
    September 27, 2013, 3:52 am

    I wonder what those present were actually thinking during this speech. It’s like a ritual prayer, a string of fingered rosary beads, airless inside, endlessly circular. Nothing at all like gripping a heavily loaded gun with the hammer cocked.

  6. Kathleen
    Kathleen
    September 27, 2013, 7:46 am

    9 months, statehood based on 67 border. The man can dream. So glad Abbas mentioned Edward Said. His writings were the first that I ever read on this issue.

    The push for a one state solution is growning

    • Hostage
      Hostage
      September 27, 2013, 11:32 am

      9 months, statehood based on 67 border. The man can dream.

      No but he can outline a deadline for action outside the UN and ICC. If the US and Israel can’t make a deal with Abbas, they won’t be able to make a deal with anyone else.

      • Walid
        Walid
        September 27, 2013, 1:36 pm

        Abbas will make a deal with Israel, he always has, but whatever that deal is, the Palestinians in Palestine and elsewhere have to accept it and from the kinds of deals he made in the past, the Palestinians would surely reject it. Palestinians have to be happy with the deal, not just Abbas and his clique.

        Whatever became of those Cast Lead criminal charges he filed at the Hague? Odd that he filed with the Hague about Cast Lead but withdrew the file from being reviewed by the UNHRC.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        September 27, 2013, 3:24 pm

        Abbas will make a deal with Israel, he always has

        If that were the case, then why are Olmert and the hasbarists here still crying in their beer over his failure to do exactly that?

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        September 27, 2013, 3:42 pm

        Whatever became of those Cast Lead criminal charges he filed at the Hague? Odd that he filed with the Hague about Cast Lead but withdrew the file from being reviewed by the UNHRC.

        We’ve been over that before. Abbas’ pending complaint with the ICC on behalf of the victim state is the only one that really mattered. His request for a six month delay on the vote in the UNHRC, came in response to threats from the Israelis. See Diskin to Abbas: Defer UN vote on Goldstone or face ‘second Gaza’. http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/diskin-to-abbas-defer-un-vote-on-goldstone-or-face-second-gaza-1.261541

        The initial vote in the UNHRC was irrelevant. Even after the panel of experts followed-up on the Israeli responses in accordance with Goldstone’s recommendation and requested an ICC referral, the Security Council and General Assembly decided to do nothing about it.

        The filing cabinets at the UN are literally stuffed full of fact finding reports dating back to 1967 that outline war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Israel. Anyone who thought that the Goldstone report would suffer a different fate than all of the others wasn’t really listening to the scripted, “fatally flawed” talking points that inevitably get deployed by the US, UK, or other ally to head-off sanctions in the political organs.

      • Walid
        Walid
        September 27, 2013, 3:44 pm

        Abbas cannot make a deal that he cannot sell to his people eventhough he may like the deal. Olmert could not give him the map of the proposed borders, which meant that Abbas had nothing to show his people.

      • Walid
        Walid
        September 27, 2013, 4:34 pm

        As you said, we’ve been over that one before. Since it was a foregone conclusion that nothing would favour the Palestinians at the UNSC, why was Abbas threatened to yank the UNHRC Cast Lead review if it was irrelevant and what about those rumours that were going around at the time that the threats involved the awarding of telecom licensing to a company in which Abbas’ son had an interest?

        Ali Abunimah in October 2009:

        Just when it seemed that the Ramallah Palestinian Authority (PA) and its leader Mahmoud Abbas could not sink any lower in their complicity with Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and the murderous blockade of Gaza, Ramallah has dealt a further stunning blow to the Palestinian people.

        The Abbas delegation to the United Nations in Geneva (officially representing the moribund Palestine Liberation Organization) abandoned a resolution requesting the Human Rights Council to forward Judge Richard Goldstone’s report on war crimes in Gaza to the UN Security Council for further action. Although the PA acted under US pressure, there are strong indications that the commercial interests of Palestinian and Gulf businessmen closely linked to Abbas also played a part.

        … Israel was rightly terrified of the report, mobilizing all its diplomatic and political resources to discredit it. In recent days, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed that if the report were acted on, it would “strike a severe blow to the war against terrorism,” and “strike a fatal blow to the peace process, because Israel will no longer be able to take additional steps and take risks for peace if its right to self-defense is denied.”

        Unsurprisingly, an early ally in the Israeli campaign for impunity was the Obama Administration, whose UN ambassador, Susan Rice, expressed “very serious concerns” about the report and trashed Goldstone’s mandate as “unbalanced, one-sided and basically unacceptable.” (Rice was acting true to her word; in April she told the newspaper Politico that one of the main reasons the Obama Administration decided to join the UN Human Rights Council was to fight what she called “the anti-Israel crap.”)

        … One would think, then, that the self-described representatives of the Palestinian people would not casually throw away this weapon. And yet, according to Abbas ambassador Ibrahim Khraishi, the Ramallah PA shelved its effort at the request of the Americans because “We don’t want to create an obstacle for them.”

        Khraishi’s excuse that the resolution is merely being deferred until the spring does not pass muster. Unless action is taken now, the Goldstone report will be buried by then and evidence of Israel’s crimes — necessary for prosecutions — may be harder to collect.

        This latest surrender comes less than two weeks after Abbas appeared at a summit in New York with US President Barack Obama and Netanyahu despite Obama abandoning his demand that Israel halt construction of Jewish-only settlements on occupied Palestinian land. Also under US pressure, the PA abandoned its pledge not to resume negotiations unless settlement-building stopped, and agreed to take part in US-mediated “peace talks” with Israel in Washington this week. Israel, meanwhile, announced plans for the largest ever West Bank settlement since 1967.

        What makes this even more galling, is the real possibility that the PA is helping Israel wash its hands of the blood it spilled in Gaza for something as base as the financial gain of businessmen closely linked to Abbas.

        The Independent (UK) reported on 1 October:

        “Shalom Kital, an aide to defense minister Ehud Barak, said today that Israel will not release a share of the radio spectrum that has long been sought by the Palestinian Authority to enable the launch of a second mobile telecommunications company unless the PA drops its efforts to put Israeli soldiers and officers in the dock over the Israeli operation.” (“Palestinians cry ‘blackmail’ over Israel phone service threat,” The Independent, 1 October).

        Kital added that it was a “condition” that the PA specifically drop its efforts to advance the Goldstone report. The phone company, Wataniya, was described last April by Reuters as an “Abbas-backed company” which is a joint venture between Qatari and Kuwaiti investors and the Palestinian Investment Fund with which one of Abbas’ sons is closely involved. Moreover, Reuters revealed that the start-up company apparently had no shortage of capital due to the Gulf investors receiving millions of dollars of “US aid in the form of loan guarantees meant for Palestinian farmers and other small to mid-sized businesses” (See “US aid goes to Abbas-backed Palestinian phone venture,” Reuters, 24 April 2009).

        Just a day before the Abbas delegation pulled its resolution in Geneva, Nabil Shaath, the PA “foreign minister” denounced the Israeli threat over Wataniya as “blackmail” and vowed that the Palestinians would never back down.

        Full editorial:
        http://electronicintifada.net/content/abbas-helps-israel-bury-its-crimes-gaza/8472

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        September 27, 2013, 6:25 pm

        As you said, we’ve been over that one before. Since it was a foregone conclusion that nothing would favour the Palestinians at the UNSC, why was Abbas threatened to yank the UNHRC Cast Lead review if it was irrelevant and what about those rumours that were going around at the time that the threats involved the awarding of telecom licensing to a company in which Abbas’ son had an interest?

        Correction: The Israelis unsuccessfully attempted to blackmail Abbas with the cell phone license in exchange for withdrawing the Palestinian ICC complaint and it never happened. See “Israel demands PA drop war crimes suit at The Hague”. http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/israel-demands-pa-drop-war-crimes-suit-at-the-hague-1.7134

        The PA has enough influence to delay a vote calling for it to conduct its own independent inquiry for six months. But it’s pretty ludicrous to suggest that Abbas could have killed the UNHRC Goldstone report at that point in time or exercise that degree of control over the things the UNHRC decides to place on its own agenda. After all Palestine isn’t a member and doesn’t have a vote. We’ve discussed all of that in the past: http://mondoweiss.net/2012/11/abbas-to-push-un-vote-this-month-on-observer-state-status-for-palestine-israel-promises-retaliation.html#comment-512774

        Israel and the US were once again playing for time; trying to discredit UNHRC; and fighting a wave of legal reversals at home and in other countries that would have been triggered automatically by confirmed human rights violations. See for example: UK Revokes Arms Export Licenses to Israel http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2009_09/UKIsrael

      • Kathleen
        Kathleen
        September 27, 2013, 1:56 pm

        Yes he can outline a deadline. And his speech was clear and concrete. But Abbas just folded on the willingness to come to the table unless their was a real freeze(no growth) in any settlements. He folded. They have to be thinking what else will he roll over on.

  7. Sycamores
    Sycamores
    September 27, 2013, 8:43 am

    “Time is running out, and the window of peace is narrowing and the opportunities are diminishing. The current round of negotiations appears to be a last chance to realize a just peace. Merely thinking of the catastrophic and frightening consequences of failure must compel the international community to intensify efforts to seize upon this chance.”

    does this mean that if the current round of peace talk fails Abbas will shut down the PA?

    • Walid
      Walid
      September 27, 2013, 1:37 pm

      “does this mean that if the current round of peace talk fails Abbas will shut down the PA?”

      No; he’d go into another stall tactic. Something to do with running interference. To shut down the PA or whatever it’s now called, it would mean the shuting down of Israel in its present form.

    • Hostage
      Hostage
      September 27, 2013, 2:57 pm

      does this mean that if the current round of peace talk fails Abbas will shut down the PA?

      Abbas is simply playing-out the hand that the UN and Israel have dealt the Palestinians. He issued a Presidential decree after the General Assembly vote that redesignated all of the Palestinian institutions, including the PA, as the “Government of the State of Palestine”. Abbas has stated that the Palestinians have only suspended taking further action through the UN and ICC until April.

      Both the Security Council and a special emergency session of the General Assembly, convened under the auspices of a “Uniting for Peace” resolution, directed the late President Arafat and Prime Minister Abbas to comply with their obligations under the terms of the Quartet Performance-based Roadmap to a Permanent Two-State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (S/2003/529). Resolution ES-10/15 specifically required them “to undertake visible efforts on the ground to arrest, disrupt and restrain individuals and groups conducting and planning violent attacks”. Abbas catches hell for doing that, but he is really only complying with the applicable UN resolutions. http://unispal.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/0/181C72112F4D0E0685257AC500515C6C

      Norman Finklestein is correct in pointing out that those marching orders are based upon an international consensus that still carries the weight of international law. If this final round of negotiations prove unsuccessful, the Security Council will need to repeal resolution 1515. It and the 10th Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly will need to find a different solution, beside the now-shopworn and senescent Two State Road Map.

      P.S. When that happens no one will be able to say that Abbas torpedoed or sandbagged the implementation of the Quartet’s plan.

      • Walid
        Walid
        September 27, 2013, 4:00 pm

        Hostage, why should the next 20 years be any different from the past 20? You have high expectations of what Abbas is up to based on international law and the various UN resolutions in effect. But those laws and resolutions have been around for a while and they haven’t succeeded in getting Israel to do anything so why would they succeed now?

      • seafoid
        seafoid
        September 27, 2013, 5:27 pm

        Walid, israeli bad faith was the clearest product of the last 20 years for europeans. Israel needs the goys who buy the exports to drink the kool aid about peace. Israel has gone far right since oslo and now thinks all that justice and peace rhetoric was a piss take. The next 20 years will be different. You can’t expect the same lies to work indefinitely. Israel is contingent. The goys decide. Jewish sovereignty is a myth.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        September 27, 2013, 5:46 pm

        Hostage, why should the next 20 years be any different from the past 20? You have high expectations of what Abbas is up to based on international law and the various UN resolutions in effect. But those laws and resolutions have been around for a while and they haven’t succeeded in getting Israel to do anything so why would they succeed now?

        Well for starters, I don’t believe the current rate of Israeli settlement can be supported for another 20 years.

        I’ve pointed out many times that the US and Israel have rejected the 2ss and 1ss. They have clearly doubled down and opted for the maintenance of the status quo of apartheid for the next X number of years. I think that their alibis will be ineffective after the current round of talks.

        You won’t ever hear Kerry or Obama say that Palestine is a state, like any other, with the right to arm and equip forces to defend itself, by itself. They only envision Bantustans.

        I’ve pointed out the irony in the fact that the only tool available to supporters of the Palestinians since the late 1960s has been grassroots political activism. You are the one who should explain why more grass roots political action will make any difference now? Abbas is saying that there is a new, and unused, international criminal tribunal in addition to the UN Courts that weren’t available or accessible to the Palestinians in the past. It would be remiss for any Palestinian leader to fail to explore those new legal avenues in combination with the existing political actions.

        More to the point, I know that Israel would have continued to build settlements, regardless of anything Abbas ever did. I also know that behavior violated the conventional law contained in the Oslo Accords that Abbas helped to codify. So the fault for the explosion in the settler population didn’t originate there or with Abbas. Frankly he’s done about as well as could be expected given the occupation and the ground rules adopted by the UN. I would only fault him on his human rights record.

        I believe that the Palestinians will eventually take their case to the ICJ and ICC and that the UN will be forced to change their resolutions and plans regarding the establishment or existence of separate “Jewish” and “Arab” states in Palestine in favor of a state for all of its citizens.

      • libra
        libra
        September 27, 2013, 6:27 pm

        Hostage: I believe that the Palestinians will eventually take their case to the ICJ and ICC and that the UN will be forced to change their resolutions and plans regarding the establishment or existence of separate “Jewish” and “Arab” states in Palestine in favor of a state for all of its citizens.

        If Israel fails to respond seriously to Abbas then surely it will be increasingly obvious to everyone that the future must be a single state.

        So I hope Abbas is serious about both his 9 month deadline and the 1967 borders in order to avoid endless ‘negotiations’. And I hope he has in mind what you suggest above if Israel fails to respond. A change of UN resolutions to support one state would give overwhelming legitimacy and focus to mass, non-violent Palestinian protests to secure equal rights in a single state. Israel would suppress them at its peril.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        September 28, 2013, 1:06 am

        And I hope he has in mind what you suggest above if Israel fails to respond.

        It looks like Israel has every intention of maintaining the status quo until the their time runs out. Netanyahu’s coalition will go on threatening to annex territory and punish the Palestinians in response to any unilateral moves they make or for multilateral moves by the UN. They’ve already adopted that as their de facto coalition position.

        Israel would suppress them at its peril.

        That’s never stopped them before.

        P.S. Even with 10 battalions of Presidential Security forces at his disposal, I don’t think Abbas can count on remaining in power if he continues to fail to deliver on his legal threats. Polls already show that 60 percent of Palestinians want him to go to the ICC right now.

  8. pabelmont
    pabelmont
    September 27, 2013, 10:50 am

    We may not know what the national leaders thought and felt while this fine speech was spoken, but reading (between) the lines, this speech was an appeal to the international community to DO SOMETHING in support of international humanitarian law (end the settlements, end the murders and terrorism of the settlers) and of peace.

    It praises (too much, but what can you do) the VERY WEAK attempts of the EU to impose sanctions (the “S” in “BDS”) on Israel w.r.t the settlements. It asks for more international aid of a political interventionist nature. I did not read it as requesting more money. It requests and states the case for action.

    And Abbas said time was short. I guess they always say that. But I think there has been a steady increase in settler violence and governmental dispossession of Palestinians over the last 20 years, all of it illegal. The nations will either have to give up their wonted complacency and oppose Israeli occupation-cum-settlement (and oppose the publicly stated positions of the USA — but see this) or let international law wither away — as it has almost done — to a point when Abbas will not even refer to it for its (so thin) rhetorical support.

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