NEW YORK — PA President Mahmoud Abbas, in an address to the UN, rejected criticism of the PA for paying monthly salaries to Palestinians who kill Israelis or the families of the killers.
“I pay tribute to our hero martyrs and prisoners of war,” he told the General Assembly on Sept. 27.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel in his address unveiled the location of a secret Iranian atomic warehouse in Tehran and implored the International Atomic Energy Agency to inspect it. Netanyahu dedicated more than half of his speech to Iran’s nuclear transgressions and aggressions against Israel and other countries (see story, right).
Netanyahu called the UN’s continuing anti-Israel stances “the same old anti-Semitism with a brand new face.”
“Once it was the Jewish people that were slandered and held to a different standard. Today it is the Jewish state which is slandered and held to a different standard,” he said.
Netanyahu defended the country’s nation-state law and called it “downright preposterous” to accuse Israel of racism. He noted that more than 100 countries in the UN have one official language, 50 have crosses or crescents on their flag, and dozens define themselves as the nation state of a particular people.
Abbas, who was introduced as head of the “State of Palestine,” said the law will lead to “one racist state, an apartheid state,” and reminded the General Assembly that it had sanctioned South Africa for its policies of apartheid.
He accused Israel of “legalizing discrimination” against the Arabs of Israel and called on the UN to “act to reject it and cancel it.”
Abbas said the Palestinians have participated in all peace initiatives and accepted every invitation to sit at the peace table with Israel.
“I reiterate that we are not against negotiations and have never rejected negotiations on any day, and that we continue to extend our hands for peace,” he said. “We only believe in peace. Peace is the only path. We don’t believe in terrorism and violence.”
Abbas accused Trump of sullying the peace process and of being “too biased for Israel” to be an honest broker.”
Trump “decided to close the PA mission in Washington, then recognized Jerusalem as the capital, moved the embassy to Jerusalem, and even boasts that he took issues of Jerusalem and refugees off the table. He even intensified his assault on international law by cutting humanitarian aid to refugees and funds to PA,” Abbas said.
Abbas said there would be no peace unless eastern Jerusalem is recognized as the Palestinian capital and the borders are drawn on the pre-1967 lines.
He said the Palestinians have practiced “peaceful, popular resistance” and are “resisting the Israeli occupation by legitimate means.”
He said that while “settlers use arms against our people, we will continue to reject violence and use of weapons.”
He called on the world community to view the Palestinians “as humans. We are not redundant.”
Also at the UN, ahead of a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Donald Trump said that he favors the two-state solution and that he hopes to reveal his peace plan within four months.
“I like the two-state solution,” Trump said, appearing Sept. 26 with Netanyahu at the UN during its General Assembly.
The president suggested that two states would be wrapped into the peace proposal now being drafted by a team led by his son-in-law, Jared Kushner.
Netanyahu, who since 2017 also has retreated from a two-state commitment, played down the significance of Trump’s statement.
“Everyone defines the term ‘state’ differently,” he told reporters after the Trump meeting, Haaretz reported. “I am willing for the Palestinians to have the authority to rule themselves without the authority to harm us.”
Trump said he was confident the Palestinians would return to the effort to revive the peace talks, although they quit the process in December after Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Trump has cut off all US assistance to the Palestinians. He suggested that if they rejoined the process, aid would resume.
“We were being abused by the leadership of the Palestinians and giving them all of this money,” he said. “So now we’re not. But that will start up again and it’ll start up — I look forward to it because they use it for some purposes that are good.”
Kushner and his team, including lead negotiator Jason Greenblatt and ambassador to Israel David Friedman, have not released any details of their proposed deal, which has frustrated their efforts to garner support for it.
Jordan’s King Abdullah, also in New York for the General Assembly, met privately with Jewish leaders and dismissed reports that Arab nations were lining up behind the peace proposal, saying that none of them — including himself — have any idea what’s in it.