Anyone who reads or listens to the statement by PLO President Mahmoud Abbas to the United Nations General Assembly on September 24, 2021,1 could only be transformed into an almost identical statement made by then PLO leader Yasser Arafat at the Durban Conference in 2001.
Obviously, nothing has changed in the Palestinian message and narrative.
Abbas presented the same reworking of the familiar Palestinian accusations, clichés and buzzwords of racism, colonialism, apartheid, nakba, and ethnic cleansing; the incessant whining of having been overlooked by the international community; misrepresentation and delusional use of old non-binding United Nations General Assembly resolutions, none of which has legal authority or practical relevance; and finally their penchant for the threat – whether it is about continuing their “peaceful popular resistance” to rocket fire, terrorist infiltration, stabbing, ecological and agricultural terror, or complaining to the public. international legal bodies.
Commemoration of 73rd anniversary of the “Nakba”, Abbas’s opening statement that “more than half of the Palestinian people have been uprooted from their land and deprived of their property”In 1948 was a deliberate and cynical distortion of the facts. Abbas has suggested that Israel woke up one morning in 1948 and suddenly and for no reason decided to demand a “catastrophe” and ethnically cleanse the Arab residents of the region. He deliberately reversed the historical narrative and misled the General Assembly by ignoring decades of concerted and organized violence by irregular Arab groups and forces against Jewish communities, including massacres of Jews residing in towns and villages. in 1920, 1921, 1929, 1936 and 1938, all aimed at terrorizing Jewish residents and eliminating any Jewish presence from the region.2
“Right of return”
Abbas accused Israel of violating the “right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland… to recover their property and receive fair compensation, notably enshrined in General Assembly resolution 194 (III).In fact, he misled the General Assembly into believing that there is such a “right of return” and that resolution 194 (III) created such a right.
The truth is that the resolution is only a non-binding recommendation like all General Assembly resolutions and cannot create legal rights. It was adopted in 1948 and, as stated in its fifth paragraph, was intended to serve as a basis of assistance to the governments and authorities concerned “seek an agreement through negotiations… with a view to the final settlement of all outstanding issues between them.“
The resolution recommended in its eleventh paragraph that:
[R]refugees who wish to return home and live in peace with their neighbors should be allowed to do so as soon as possible, and compensation should be paid for the property of those who choose not to return and for the loss or damage caused to property which, under the principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the governments or responsible authorities.3
The wording of this provision creates no rights but simply an option for refugees who wish to return and live in peace with their neighbors.
Shiekh Jarrah and Silwan
Abbas accused Israel of ethnic cleansing in “illegally and forcibly relocating Palestinians from Shiekh Jarrah and Silwan to Jerusalem. This allegation distorted the truth and concealed from the General Assembly that issues of legitimate land ownership by Arab and Jewish residents of these areas are currently being considered by Israeli courts.
“Occupation of Palestinian territory”
Abbas’s cynical reference to “the 54 years since Israel’s military occupation of the rest of Palestinian territory in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip in 1967” was intended to mislead the General Assembly and implied that the whole sovereign territory of Israel is, in his eyes and in the eyes of the Palestinian narrative, an “occupied Palestinian territory”.
This is a distortion of fact and law and a significant violation of a central Palestinian recognition of Israel’s right to exist and of their commitment to negotiate a peaceful resolution of the dispute set out in the letter from the head of the PLO Yasser Arafat to Israeli Prime Minister Rabin on September 9, 1993.
There has never been a sovereign Palestinian entity whose territory was taken by Israel. There has never been a determination, resolution or other authoritative, binding and legal international documents that grant territory to the Palestinian people. On the contrary, the areas administered by Israel since 1967 have, from the beginning, been considered – even by the Palestinian leadership – as disputed territories, the resolution of which must be negotiated as part of the permanent status negotiations agreed at the Conference. from 1993-2005. Oslo Accords.
Abbas’s illusion of being committed to the Oslo Accords “in all its elements to this day” and “to accept every call and initiative to achieve a political solution on the basis of international legitimacy” is particularly cynical in light of waves of terrorist bombings, rocket attacks, tunnel infiltration, stabbing and incitement to terrorism, as well as official Palestinian sponsorship and support of BDS and international attempts to bypass and undermine the negotiation process; and to undermine the legitimacy of Israel and its leadership.
Its repeated reference to a “political solution on the basis of international legitimacy” is a familiar cliché in the vocabulary of Palestinian leaders, indicating a preference for bypassing strong legal commitments in existing agreements and preferring to rely on thousands of people. non-binding agreements. political resolutions of the General Assembly and other international organizations.
Abbas attempted to pretend to honor international commitments by bragging to the United Nations General Assembly that the Palestinians have a “full-fledged state with institutions that act in accordance with the principles of accountability and transparency, democracy and pluralism, respect for human rights and empowerment. women and youth ”and that they honor their obligations under UN resolutions. In addition, it boasted of having acceded to 115 legal instruments and international organizations.
However, he ignored fundamental Palestinian violations of some of the most important international humanitarian standards by supporting and encouraging international terrorism, advocating economic boycotts, violating conventions against agricultural terrorism, deliberate pollution of the environment, the use of children in armed conflict, the taking of hostages and the use of torture against one’s own people.
“Unified internal front”
Abbas’s delusional statement belied the assertion of any capacity of a Palestinian leadership to present to the Palestinian population and the international community any form of unified leadership capable of negotiating with Israel and committing the Palestinians to any political solution. peaceful.
“Provide assistance to the families of prisoners and martyrs”
In violation of UN resolutions and international conventions criminalizing the financing of terrorism, Abbas has blatantly and shamelessly defended and justified his administration’s “pay-to-kill” policies of paying salaries to convicted prisoners of war. acts of terrorism and murder, knowing that such payments serve as incitement and encouragement for other acts of terror.
Abbas accused Israeli governments of “evading the two-state solution based on international law and UN resolutions.” However, there is no international or bilateral Israeli-Palestinian commitment in any of the instruments agreed between Israel and the Palestinians for any “two-state solution”, which, in fact, is nothing more than wishful thinking. – both for Abbas and for as well as for many international leaders.
The Oslo accords established an agreed formula for negotiating the permanent status of the territories between Israel and the Palestinian leadership. The agreements do not determine whether such a resolution will be one, two, three or four states or whether the result will be a federation, confederation, condominium or co-imperium.
1947 partition plan
Abbas’s attempt to resuscitate the defunct United Nations General Assembly resolution 181 (II) of 1947 by distorting its content and status added to the delusional nature of his statement. The resolution indeed recommended the creation of two states – Arab and Jewish, but made no reference to any “state of Palestine”. Despite the willingness of the pre-state leadership of Israel to accept the resolution, it was rejected by the Arab League states, which preferred to invade the territory of the nascent state of Israel. It never came into effect.4
Abbas threat to appeal to the International Court of Justice
The repeated threat to appeal to international legal bodies as a way to bypass the negotiation process and unilaterally prejudge the outcome of the dispute is indicative of a lack of understanding on the part of the Palestinian leadership and those who advise Mahmoud Abbas, as to the status and powers of the International Court of Justice as set out in its Statute and Rules.5
It is indeed sad that the Palestinian people lack a unified and authoritarian leadership capable of truly representing them – both vis-à-vis Israel and vis-à-vis the international community.
Arriving at the United Nations General Assembly with savage, delusional, deceptive and misguided accusations and threats does not serve the interests of peace and does not increase by one iota the chances of a return to peace negotiations. Mahmoud Abbas, in his recent statement, deceives the international community and, as such, abuses every member state, as well as the United Nations itself.
A united and accountable Palestinian leadership must come to the international community with clean hands and with the ability and will to genuinely seek peace through peaceful dialogue and in good faith and not through lies and threats.
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