Abbas: We will join all 522 international organizations

Abbas admitted that “popular resistance” has not taken off in Palestinian society, but said he wants to see it play a larger role in the coming years.

November 30, 2016 23:58
2 minute read.
Mahmoud Abbas

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas addresses UN General Assembly. (photo credit: REUTERS)

The Palestinian leadership plans to continue its strategy to internationalize the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by joining international institutions, PA President Mahmoud Abbas said during a long speech at the seventh Fatah General Congress in Ramallah on Wednesday.

“We will join all of them,” Abbas said of 522 international organizations.

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The Palestinian leadership has joined 44 international organization thus far, including UNESCO and the International Criminal Court.

Abbas also said that the Palestinian leadership plans to “go to the UNSC to ask for full membership” in the world body.

The Palestinian leadership achieved non-member observer status at the UN in September 2012, after an abortive attempt to do so in 2011.

Abbas in his speech, which covered much of Palestinian history, also attempted to defend part of the Oslo Accords.

“We want to talk about Oslo. Many say that it is treasonous... But [it also allowed] 600,000 Palestinians – Arabs and non-Arabs – to return to the homeland,” Abbas said, adding that “it was an important step that we began to return.”

Abbas has said consistently over the past two years that the Palestinian leadership could renounce its commitments under the Oslo Accords, if the current relationship between Israeli and the Palestinian governments continues.

Most prominently, Abbas told the UN in 2015: “We declare that as long as Israel refuses to commit to the agreements signed with us... they leave us no choice but to insist that we will not remain the only ones committed to the implementation of these agreements.”

Later in Thursday’s speech, Abbas admitted that “popular resistance” has not taken off in Palestinian society, but said he wants to see it play a larger role in the coming years. “Where is popular, peaceful resistance? Go out to [the streets],” he said. “I say, go out; no one goes out.”

Since Abbas became Fatah chairman in 2004, he and other movement leaders have consistently expressed support for popular resistance, backing protests against the West Bank security barrier and boycott of a limited number of Israeli products, but they have yet to produce a mass protest movement.

Moreover, the PA president said he intends to continue dialogue through the Palestinian Committee for Interaction with Israeli Society. “We decided we wanted to communicate with everyone in Israel. We decided to open a dialogue,” Abbas said before rhetorically asking, “Why?” “We don’t want to leave them subject to deception. We need to provide them with our side [of the issues].”

Muhammad al-Madani, an Abbas adviser, has organized hundreds of meetings between Israelis and Palestinian leaders including Abbas. Madani has received substantial backlash from anti-normalization groups in Palestinian society.

Abbas’s speech did not address the ongoing tensions within Fatah or his ongoing rivalry with self-exiled Fatah leader Muhammad Dahlan.

The congress, which will elect delegates to Fatah’s top two leadership bodies, the Central Committee and the Revolutionary Council, has excluded Fatah leaders allied with Dahlan and many other leaders critical of Abbas’s leadership.

The leaders left out of the congress say that the congress’s primary goal is to remove them and their influence from leadership roles in Fatah.

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