Peace between Israel and the Palestinians will result in recognition of
Israel from 57 Arab states, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud
Abbas said during his speech at the UN General Assembly in New York on
"Let us envision another 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," he said.
Read Abbas's full speech here.
his speech, Abbas reassured the international community that the
Palestinians' new status at the UN would not compromise the fragile calm
on the ground.
"The quest to raise Palestine's status does not
aim at delegitimizing any existing state, that is, the state of Israel,"
Abbas said, "but to consecrate the legitimacy of a state that must
exist, which is Palestine."
Abbas spoke at length about the peace process, warning that the window of opportunity for peace is closing.
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," he said.
remind all, and recall ourselves, that we do not start in a vacuum or
from point zero, nor are we lost in a labyrinth without a map. The goal
of peace is embodied in redressing the historic, unprecedented injustice
that befell the Palestinian people in 1948."
He went on to say
that Yasser Arafat, the PLO, and subsequent Palestinian leaders have
worked "with dedication to implement [the Oslo Accords] in order to end
the occupation and realize a just peace," and enumerated how
Palestinian leaders have worked diligently to uphold its
"But 20 years on, the picture appears bleak,"
Abbas said. "The goal of peace was not achieved, its provisions were not
implemented, its deadlines were not respected. And all the while,
continuing intense settlement construction... struck a deep fracture in
the cornerstone of the peace process, the two-state solution."
went on to list numerous grievances Palestinians hold against the
settlers, including 708 of what he called "terrorist attacks" since the
beginning of the year against Palestinian mosques and churches, and the
destruction of 850 homes and structures.
He urged the
international community to act to stop continued Israeli settlement
building and "exert every effort to make [the talks] succeed."
international community is asked to remain alert to condemn and stop
any actions on the ground that would undermine negotiations... above
all, to the continuation of settlement construction on our Palestinian
land, particularly in Jerusalem," he added.
In addition to
harshly criticizing Israeli settlement building, Abbas also called on
Israel "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."
The PA president cautioned against
reaching an interim agreement, saying the Palestinians "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."
"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," Abbas said.
He also stressed the importance of the Palestinian right of return, citing UN resolution 194 on the issue.
met with US President Barack Obama on Tuesday afternoon following
Obama's speech to the UN, in which the American President also struck a
tone of encouragement and renewed optimism in the face of the restarted
peace process, and said that the Israel-Palestinian conflict would be
one of his top two foreign policy priorities for the remainder of his
The Israeli delegation was not present for Abbas's speech due
to the Simchat Torah holiday, a spokeswoman for the UN Mission told The
Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz called Abbas'
speech "disappointing," especially for failing to recognize
Israel as a Jewish state.
"The tricky thing is he says he doesn't want to delegitimize
Israel with one move, and then he delegitimizes Israel with
other moves, like refusing to accept that Israel was established
and has a right to exist as a Jewish state," Steinitz, who was
in New York for the General Assembly, told Reuters.
But opposition leader, Shelly
Yacimovich called on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to respond by doing more for peace.
She said the "moderate remarks" by Abbas - compared to his
more strident UN speech a year earlier - "foster cautious hope
that we face a new era of dialogue that might lead to an
accord," according to a statement from her office.
Reuters contributed to this report.