Israel: PA President Abbas incited hate and glorified terrorism at UNGA

EU Foreign Policy chief Josep Borrell similarly refrained from commenting on Abbas' speech, but "warmly welcomed" Lapid's words.

 Israeli ambassador Gilad Erdan at the United Nations General Assembly. (photo credit: Israel's mission to the UN/Screenshot/UN Web TV)
Israeli ambassador Gilad Erdan at the United Nations General Assembly.
(photo credit: Israel's mission to the UN/Screenshot/UN Web TV)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas incited hatred and glorified terrorism when he addressed the United Nations General Assembly, Israel charged as security forces braced for violence during the Jewish New Year holiday that begins on Sunday. 

"In a lie-filled rant completely detached from reality, he further proved his absolute irrelevance," Israel's Ambassador to the UN in New York Gilad Erdan said after Friday's speech.

"Abbas uses the UN as a platform to incite hatred against Israel while glorifying the terrorists that he himself funds."

He took issue in particular with the PA's renewed drive to receive unilateral membership from the UN, a move which would need UN Security Council approval and which the United States has the power to veto.

"Abbas uses the UN as a platform to incite hatred against Israel while glorifying the terrorists that he himself funds."

Israel's Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan

"The Palestinians’ campaign to gain unjustified full membership status at the UN is doomed to fail," Erdan said adding that "their unilateral campaign to force full membership won't pass in the Security Council."

 Israel's Prime Minister Yair Lapid addresses the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York City on September 22, 2022.  (credit: TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images)) Israel's Prime Minister Yair Lapid addresses the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York City on September 22, 2022. (credit: TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images))

Erdan explained that "the US and members of the Security Council are well aware that the Palestinians rejected every peace plan ever presented, that they fund terrorists, and that the Palestinian Authority doesn't even have sovereignty over their own territories, which are controlled by terror groups."

Abbas spoke one day after Prime Minister Yair Lapid addressed the same high-level opening session of the 77th UN General Assembly. Lapid spoke of the importance of peace with the Palestinians and affirmed his support for a two-state resolution to the conflict, but did not call for renewed talks. 

Abbas welcomed Lapid's words but said they did not go far enough as he called on Israel to return to the negotiating table.

Israel and the Palestinians last held talks in 2014.

Abbas's accusations

He accused Israel of destroying the two-state solution, saying that it has decided not to be a partner for peace with the Palestinians.

“Yesterday I listened to US President Joe Biden, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid and other world leaders who voiced support for the two-state solution,” Abbas said.

“We yearn for peace, so let us make this peace in order to live in security, stability and prosperity.”

Abbas stressed, however, that the real test for the seriousness and credibility of this stance lies in the immediate return of the Israeli government to the negotiating table to implement the two-state solution on the basis of the resolutions of international legitimacy and the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative.

Biden who lauded Lapid's "courageous statement" was silent after Abbas' speech. EU Foreign Policy chief Josep Borrell similarly refrained from commenting on Abbas' speech but "warmly welcomed" Lapid's words, recalling that the EU had recently agreed to schedule an EU-Israel Association meeting, a move that has not happened since 2012. 

The EU's delegation to the PA however issued a statement, focusing on Abbas' "yearning" for peace. "The EU supports all efforts to take concrete steps to a meaningful political process, including high-level dialogue between the parties," it stated.

Aside from his calls for renewed talks, Abbas used his time at the UNGA podium to launch a scathing attack on Israel, accusing it, among other things, of committing “massacres” against the Palestinians and “assaults” on Islamic and Christian holy sites.

At one point he held up a photograph of the front page of The New York Times, from May 2021, in which did small features on the 67 Palestinian children who were killed during the 2021 Gaza war.

"Who will take responsibility for this?" Abbas said as he held up the photo.

The Palestinians, Abbas said, will ask the International Criminal Court (ICC) to launch an investigation into the “crimes and massacres committed by Israel.”

He called on Israel to halt unilateral measures that undermine such a solution.

“Our confidence in achieving peace based on justice and international law is waning because of the policies of the Israeli occupation,” he warned. “It has become clear that Israel has decided not to be our partner in the peace process. It has destroyed the Oslo Accords that were signed with the PLO and now it is determined to destroy the two-state solution. This proves that Israel does not believe in peace.”

Abbas accused Israel of confiscating Palestinian lands and “looting our resources, exactly as it did in 1948.”

He also accused the Israeli government of allowing the formation of “Jewish terrorist organizations” which, he said, are targeting the Palestinians and calling for their expulsion from their homes. “We call on the international community to place these terrorist organizations on the lists of international terrorism,” he said.

The PA president repeated his threat to walk away from all signed agreements with Israel, noting that major Palestinian institutions had already voted in favor of severing all ties with the Jewish state.

“We can’t accept to be the only party adhering to the agreements we signed with Israel in 1993,” he emphasized. “These agreements are no longer valid because Israel has repeatedly violated them. Israel has left us no choice but to revise our relations with it.”

Abbas demanded the implementation of UN resolutions 181 and 194. The first, issued in 1947, called for the partition of Palestine into Arab and Jewish states, while the second, adopted a year later, declares that Arab refugees wishing to return to their homes inside Israel should be permitted to do so.

He also called on Israel, the US and Britain to apologize to the Palestinians and offer them compensation because of their responsibility for the Balfour Declaration. Abbas ended his speech by praising Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails, calling them “heroes and leaders.”