Danny Danon: Mahmoud Abbas is not committed to peace

“Abbas should not come to New York; he should come to Jerusalem,” Danny Danon said.

Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon speaks during a Security Council meeting at the United Nations in New York, U.S., February 11, 2020 (photo credit: REUTERS/SHANNON STAPLETON)
Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon speaks during a Security Council meeting at the United Nations in New York, U.S., February 11, 2020
Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas is disingenuous when he says he wants peace, Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said at a UN Security Council meeting on the Trump administration’s Middle East peace plan on Tuesday.
The ambassador also called for direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
“If Abbas was truly interested in peace, he wouldn’t be here, he would be in Jerusalem,” Danon said, referring to former Egyptian president Anwar Sadat speaking in the Knesset before signing a peace treaty with Israel.
Abbas should “use this opportunity to start direct negotiations,” the ambassador stated. “Complaining instead of action – that is not leadership. Abbas says he wants sovereignty for the Palestinian people, but he has done everything to avoid it. The call for sovereignty has become a battle call, rather than an actual goal, a way to keep the conflict alive.”
Danon accused the international community of encouraging Abbas’s “rejectionism” by way of their UN voting patterns and by calling for pre-1967 lines to be the basis of negotiations.
“They apply preconditions that directly contradict previous agreements between the sides,” he said, pointing out that Israel and the PLO agreed in the past that future borders would be determined via negotiations. “Why should he negotiate for us, when you’re negotiating for him?”
Danon also praised US President Donald Trump’s “sane approach” in trying a different way to make peace and not “accept[ing] out-of-date concepts… [and] a formula that has failed for over 70 years.”
“Even if you have criticism of the specifics of the plan should embrace its spirit, a new pragmatic approach to solving this conflict,” he stated.
“Abbas refuses to be pragmatic [and] refuses to negotiate… Only when he steps down can Israel and the Palestinians step forward. He will never be a partner for real peace,” Danon concluded.
In earlier remarks ahead of Abbas's speech, Danon said that “As he begins his 16th year of a four-year term, it’s clear Abbas does not care for peace,” Danon said. “The Palestinian people deserve a leader like Anwar Sadat, like [former Jordanian] King Hussein, a leader that is committed to peace. Mr. Abbas is not that leader.”
Danon accused Abbas of being “well-versed in the art of double-speak,” in that he will come to the UN and say he wants peace, while he “remains committed to incitement at home… encouraging Palestinian violence against Israelis.”
The Palestinian Authority delayed their vote on a UNSC resolution against the US plan, but the meeting will continue as scheduled, including a special address by Abbas.
The delay comes amid US pressure to soften the language of the resolution towards the US and Israel. There has been speculation that the delay was a way of pulling the resolution because it lacked the requisite support of nine members for passage, as several countries were expected to abstain. Even if it had passed, the US had been expected to veto the original text put forward last week by UNSC members Tunisia and Indonesia.
“It’s unfortunate that we have to have this discussion,” Danon said. “It’s unfortunate because it means the Palestinian leadership doesn’t believe in the cause of peace. This meeting was preordained in their minds before [US President Donald Trump] presented his ‘prosperity to peace’ plan. Mr. Abbas was getting ready to come here to the UN without even seeing the proposal.”
Israel, however, is ready to enter negotiations with the Palestinians, he added.
The ambassadors of the EU countries in the UNSC, Belgium, Estonia, Germany and France, came out against the Trump plan in their statement prior to the meeting.
They reiterated the EU’s commitment to transatlantic partnership and commended “efforts taken by the US towards resolving this conflict.”
However, their statement said the EU “remains committed to a two-state solution based on 1967 borders with land swaps,” allowing for a “contiguous, viable state of Palestine living side-by-side [with Israel] in peace, sovereignty and material recognition.”
“The US plan,” they added, “departs from these internationally recognized parameters.”
They also expressed concern about Israeli plans to annex parts of the West Bank, saying that doing so would breach international law and make a two-state solution unviable.
The US and Israel had worked hard in recent days to ensure that the Palestinian resolution would not pass.
“In recent days, great pressure has been brought to bear on council members. Those efforts bore fruit,” an Israeli source told The Jerusalem Post.
The “Palestinians had realized they would not have much support, and they took it off the table,” the source added.
It is still unclear if the matter will be brought back to the Security Council or to the General Assembly.
On Sunday night, the Post learned that America had put forward its own amendments to the text in hopes of re-crafting a resolution that could ensure the return of Israelis and Palestinians to the negotiating table, a person familiar with the discussions told the Post. In the event that Tunisia and Indonesia do not adopt the American comments, the US Mission to the UN is expected to veto it.
Tovah Lazaroff and Omri Nahmias contributed to this report.