Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called on Wednesday for international protection against “Israeli war crimes” and rejected any push to resume direct negations with Israel unless it agreed to a two-state solution at the pre-1967 lines through an internationalized process.
“We want your protection. We want the protection of the world. We can no longer bear all these sanctions, all these attacks perpetrated by the settlers and the Israeli army. We need protection and we look to you, protect us, protect us, we need you.”
He spoke before a special session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, which was convened at his request. Heads of states, including non-member nations of the United Nations, have a right to use the UNHRC as a platform in this way.
While Israelis feel terrorized in the last few weeks by a spate of more than 40 Palestinian attacks that have killed 11 and injured more than 100, Abbas at the UN said it was the Palestinians who were the victims.
Abbas said that the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories, resulting from “continued occupation, was the worst and most dangerous since 1948.”
“The United Nations - particularly the UN Security Council is requested, more urgently than at any time before, to set up a special regime for international protection for the Palestinian people,” Abbas said.
He blamed the violence over the last few weeks on the “occupation” and in particular on Israeli actions on the Temple Mount [Al-Haram Al-Sharif], which he charged are a change to the status quo.
“I have noted over and over again that pressure will generate an explosion and that the violations committed by settlers and extremists, protected by the Israeli occupation forces against our Christian and Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem, namely the plans that endanger al-Aksa Mosque, in order to alter the pre-1967 status quo and beyond, will turn the political conflict into a religious one that will have grave consequences on all of us,” Abbas said.
He claimed that since the year 2000, successive Israeli governments have been working to alter the identity and history and demography of Jerusalem.
On Saturday, US Secretary of State John Kerry and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicly stated that Israel was not changing the status quo on the Temple Mount, which is under the custodianship of the Islamic Wakf and the Jordanian monarchy.
Israel and Jordan are working on a plan, that the Palestinians oppose, to vastly increase surveillance cameras at the site to ensure transparency with regard to any actions at the site which is holy to Jews, Muslims and Christians.
Abbas did not mention the cameras in his speech but instead appealed to the international community to affirm the rights of Palestinians to self-determination, recognize Palestine as a state, halt Israeli violence against his people and hold Israel accountable to international law.
The Fourth Geneva Convention should be applied against Israel with regard to is actions in the “the occupied state of Palestine, including east Jerusalem,” he said.
Israel, he said, can only achieve peace by ending the “occupation” and not by “wanton force, colonial settlement, collective punishment, house demolitions, field executions, denial of the other, and affronting the dignity of our people as well as propagating poisonous hatred and enmity against them.”
Israel has not only colonized Palestinian land, but it has allowed settlers to attack them, he charged.
“They have even formed armed terrorist gangs known with names such as 'the price tag' and others,” said Abbas. He referenced the arson attack by Jewish extremists that killed three members of the Dawabsha family in their home in the West Bank village of Duma and the murder of the Palestinian teen Mohammed Abu Khdeir in Jerusalem in the summer of 2014.
He characterized the IDF and Border Police killing of close to 30 Palestinian assailants in the last few weeks, as well as another 30 during violent riots, as “field executions.”
“As part of Israel's persistence to act as a state above international law, its occupation force has recently stepped up its criminal practices to the point where it performed field executions against defenseless Palestinian civilians, including children,” Abbas said.
He rejected international attempts, including by the US, to jumpstart the frozen peace process, by simply setting him down with Netanyahu to resume negotiations.
“It is no longer useful to waste time in negotiations just for the sake of negotiations, what is required is the ending of occupation in accordance with the international legitimacy resolutions,” he said.
“We reject any interim or partial solution,” he said. What is needed, he said, is an imposed solution by the international community.
He welcomed efforts by the international community for a UN Security Council resolution that calls for a two-state solution along the pre-1967 lines with an agreed upon time line for an Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian territories including east Jerusalem.
This plan should be launched in an international peace conference, he said.
Israel must halt all settlement building and free 24 prisoners, said Abbas, as he referred to Palestinians whose scheduled early release from Israeli jails was halted when the last round of negotiations fell apart in April 2014.
The issue of Palestinian refugees, he said, would be resolved in accordance with UN resolutions 194 and the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative.
Moving forward, Abbas said, the Palestinians need national unity, the formation of a national unity government and new elections.
He reiterated what he already told the UN General Assembly in New York at the end of last month, that the Palestinians would not be unilaterally bound to past agreements that Israel has violated.
“Agreements are mutual. If Israel fails to commit to them, we will not commit," he said.
“Israel must bear all of its responsibilities as an occupying power,” he said.
Abbas charged Netanyahu with incitement for his comments last week that accused Jerusalem’s former Grand Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini of playing an instrumental role in convincing Hitler to gas the Jews during the Holocaust.
Such an accusation, he said, “manipulates the sentiments of the Jewish people who had been victims of the most horrendous crime known in modern history committed by Nazis.”
Abbas added, “when the Israeli prime minister tries to absolve Adolf Hitler from his ugly crimes against the Jews and blames Palestinians for these crimes, he is trying thereby to justify the crime committed against the Palestinian people.
“He [Netanyahu] prefers to blame Palestinians for everything even the Holocaust, you all know that this is totally false, it is untrue and baseless,” Abbas said.
Turning to the Israeli people, he called on them to accept a just peace at the 67 line, with east Jerusalem as its capital.
“Our hands remain outstretched for a just peace that will guarantee my people's rights, freedoms and humanitarian dignity,” said Abbas.
“Isn’t 70 years of suffering and injustice enough," he asked and added that people with a conscience should not accept the continuation of this status quo.
“Let our people live their lives and build their future on their homeland, Palestine.”
“Peace is affordable and within reach, and the answer is simple; your state must end its occupation of our land, your oppressive war machine must stop its aggression against our people, settlement activities must be ceased and the criminal acts of settlers must be stopped,” he said.
“Should our people not enjoy freedom, dignity and full sovereignty over their national soil, airspace, territorial waters and borders, no one would be able to enjoy peace, security and stability.
“Only when that happens,” said Abbas, will “all of us enjoy peace, stability and security.”
Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>