Monday, November 30, 2020

Abbasí UN speech: PA "cannot continue to be bound" by agreements signed with Israel

By Cath And - October 01, 2015
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [Oslo Accords] [UN] [Two State Solution] [Mahmoud Abbas] [Palestinian Authority]

In an address to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Wednesday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas stated that the Palestinian Authority “cannot continue to be bound” by agreements it has signed with Israel.


The speech began with Abbas condemning Israel’s “repeated, systematic incursions upon Al-Aqsa Mosque” in recent weeks, which he described as being “in direct violation of the status quo since before 1967 and thereafter.”


He then turned to the question of Palestinian self-determination, which he described as being “at a standstill after the passage of all these years.” He declared that Palestine “deserves full recognition and full membership” as a UN state.


After describing Israel’s human rights violations against the Palestinian people, Abbas requested “international protection for the Palestinian people in accordance with international humanitarian law.” He then described the stalled Oslo Accords, which were supposed to end in 1999 with an independent State of Palestine and an end to Israeli occupation.


He stated that the Palestinian Authority (PA) refuses to remain the only party committed to these agreements, and that it “cannot continue to be bound by these agreements and that Israel must assume all of its responsibilities as an occupying Power.”


Abbas’ speech has elicited various interpretations. Whilst some see the remarks as clearly signaling the termination of the Oslo Accords, others regard them as a potentially empty threat.


Federica Mogherini, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, stated that she followed Abbas’ speech carefully and interpreted his remarks as largely based on hypotheticals.

Mogherini described Abbas’ termination of the Oslo Accords as “a scenario that is going to happen “if”, and there is an “if”, now on that “if”, we will have to work.”

The Palestine Monitor spoke to Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, Secretary General of the Palestinian National Initiative (PNI) whose take on the speech was that the PA is effectively “no longer committed to agreements”, though the timeframe of when this announcement will go into effect is unclear.

The Jerusalem Post reports that Abbas may have come under pressure from the US to change the content of the speech from announcing concrete action to threatening to take action if the status quo persists.


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to Abbas’ speech disparagingly, with a statement from his office saying "Abu Mazen's speech was deceitful and encourages incitement and lawlessness in the Middle East.”


Netanyahu did not respond to Abbas’ statements on the Oslo Accords, instead focussing on recent events at Al Aqsa, stating that “Israel is strictly maintaining the status quo.” He went on to request that Abbas “enter into direct negotiations with Israel without preconditions.”


In a Q&A with the Institute for Middle East Understanding after the speech, Diana Buttu, a former advisor to Abbas, stated that the majority of the vestiges of the Oslo Accords “namely direct negotiations with Israel, were undone by Israel years ago. While Abbas says he’s no longer bound by Oslo, on the ground nothing will change.”


She described the Oslo Accords as “an unmitigated disaster for Palestinians”, but stated that the Palestinian Authority (PA), which was established as part of the Accords, “will not be dissolved anytime soon.”



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