“A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who breathes out lies will perish.” (Proverbs 19:9)
On Friday, in a venomous anti-Israel speech before the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas proved that the Palestinian Authority is no partner for peace.
Abbas seemed determined to kill any hopes of reviving negotiations in the near future when he angrily read from a prepared speech: “It is impossible and I repeat—it is impossible—to return to the cycle of negotiations that failed to deal with the substance of the matter and the fundamental question. The time has come to end this settlement occupation.”
He then called on the Security Council to set a specific deadline to divide Jerusalem and end the so-called Israeli “occupation,” stating:
“This endeavor aspires to correct the deficiency of the previous efforts to achieve peace by affirming the goal of ending the Israeli occupation and achieving the two-state solution, of the State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, over the entire territory occupied in 1967, alongside the State of Israel and reaching a just and agreed upon solution to the plight of the Palestine refugees on the basis of resolution 194, with a specific timeframe for the implementation of these objectives as stipulated in the Arab Peace Initiative.
“This will be linked to the immediate resumption of negotiations between Palestine and Israel to demarcate the borders, reach a detailed and comprehensive agreement and draft a peace treaty between them.”
Abbas repeatedly accused Israel of racism, apartheid, “war crimes carried out before the whole world” and genocide in this summer’s war against Hamas, totally neglecting to mention that Hamas was responsible for abducting and murdering three Israeli teens, initiating the war through incessant bombing of Israel, and using Palestinians as human shields during the war.
“In this year, proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly as the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian people, Israel has chosen to make it a year of a new war of genocide perpetrated against the Palestinian people,” Abbas said.
“In the name of Palestine and its people, I affirm here today: We will not forget and we will not forgive, and we will not allow war criminals to escape punishment,” he stated.
The United States characterized Abbas’ speech as provocative and offensive, saying that it undermined peace efforts.
US State Department’s spokeswoman Jen Psaki responded to Abbas’ charges saying: “Such provocative statements are counterproductive and undermine efforts to create a positive atmosphere and restore trust between the parties.”
“It’s a speech of incitement full of lies,” an unnamed source from the Prime Minister’s Office said soon after Abbas had delivered the address on Friday. “That’s not how someone who wants peace speaks.” (Times of Israel)
The speech drew a furious response from senior Israeli officials with Israel’s foreign minister Avigdor Liberman calling it “diplomatic terrorism.”
“Abu Mazen’s [an Arabic nickname for Abbas] statements to the UN general assembly clearly illustrate that he doesn’t want to be—and cannot be—a partner to a diplomatic settlement,” Liberman said.
“There’s a reason that Abu Mazen entered into a joint government with Hamas.”
That reason is a shared goal to eliminate the People of Israel from the land of Israel, as affirmed in the Hamas charter.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refuted Abbas from the same podium three days later.
Unlike Abbas, he offered fresh insight regarding how to advance peace between Israel and the Palestinians, and in the Middle East.
In a broad-ranging speech that touched on the problem of a nuclear Iran, militant Islam, and the role of Arab states in advancing peace with the Palestinians, he said he was ready to make a historic compromise, but not because Israel was occupying a foreign land.
“The people of Israel are not occupiers in the Land of Israel,” he emphasized. “History, archaeology and common sense all make clear that we have had a singular attachment to this land for over 3,000 years. I want peace because I want to create a better future for my people. But it must be a genuine peace, one that is anchored in mutual recognition and enduring security arrangements, rock solid security arrangements on the ground.”
He also compared Hamas to ISIS.
“ISIS and Hamas are branches of the same poisonous tree,” he said. “ISIS and Hamas share a fanatical creed, which they both seek to impose well beyond the territory under their control.”
“As Hamas’s charter makes clear, Hamas’s immediate goal is to destroy Israel. But Hamas has a broader objective. They also want a caliphate. Hamas shares the global ambitions of its fellow militant Islamists. … So when it comes to their ultimate goals, Hamas is ISIS and ISIS is Hamas,” Netanyahu told the UNGA.
As for Abbas’ accusations of genocide, Netanyahu told the UNGA that during the war with Gaza, Israel did everything to minimize Palestinian casualties, while Hamas did everything it could to maximize injuries on both sides.
“In an attempt to win the world’s sympathy, Hamas cynically used Palestinian civilians as human shields. It used schools, not just schools—UN schools, private homes, mosques, even hospitals to store and fire rockets at Israel. As Israel surgically struck at the rocket launchers and at the tunnels, Palestinian civilians were tragically but unintentionally killed,” he said.
“Israel dropped flyers, made phone calls, sent text messages, broadcast warnings in Arabic on Palestinian television, always to enable Palestinian civilians to evacuate targeted areas,” Netanyahu explained. “No other country and no other army in history have gone to greater lengths to avoid casualties among the civilian population of their enemies.”