Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s address to the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday frustrated some leaders of the Israeli Left, while others endorsed what he said.
The Left, which initiated the Oslo Accords that Abbas said he wanted to negate, reacted with different voices to the Palestinian leader’s announcement. Zionist Union leaders Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni and Yesh Atid head Yair Lapid expressed disappointment, while Peace Now secretary-general Yariv Oppenheimer praised Abbas.
“Speeches, accusations and flags will not create a Palestinian State, only direct negotiations with Israel,” Livni said. “The time has come for the Palestinian leadership to realize that a Palestinian state can only arise through agreements that guarantee Israeli security. Attempts to get the international community to force Israel to make concessions that will harm Israel’s interests will not succeed and are doomed to failure.”
Herzog said statements by Abbas accusing Israel of apartheid were twisted and served only the extremists in both nations. He said that both Abbas and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were letting their people down.
“The Israelis and Palestinians deserve hope and normal lives,” Herzog said. “Abbas and Netanyahu are leaders who are afraid of making decisions and prefer slogans and mutual recriminations, while leaving our future hanging in the wind. Instead of taking advantage of a rare chance for creating alliances with moderate countries who want to partner against Islamic terror, they are drowning in their own useless rhetoric.”
Speaking to the Israel Policy Forum in New York, Lapid accused Abbas of uttering “terrible words of incitement.”
“Maybe it comes from frustration, but it is frustration of their own doing,” Lapid said.