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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Abu Mazen's UN speech: Same old, same old

'Moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen addressed the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday (the Israeli delegation was absent due to Simchath Torah). It was more of the same railing against Israel.
He said that he had begun the latest round of negotiations in good faith and with an open mind, strongly determined to reach a peace accord within nine months. The negotiations had not started from point zero, “nor are we lost in a labyrinth without a map, nor do we lack a compass”. Rather, the foundations of peace were long-standing and within reach. That overarching goal was embodied in redressing the “historic, unprecedented injustice” that had befallen the Palestinian people in 1948. Palestine refused to entertain transitional or interim agreements that could become “eternalized”, and aimed instead for a permanent and comprehensive peace treaty, he said. The international consensus on the terms and parameters of the negotiations were to be found in the decision to upgrade Palestine’s status, and in countless resolutions of the General Assembly, the Security Council and other international organizations.
Noting that 20 years had passed since the Oslo Accords, he recalled the Palestine National Council’s “extremely difficult decision” to accept the proposed two-State solution based on the 1967 borders. Simultaneously, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) had committed to peace, repudiating violence and rejecting terrorism. Despite that dynamism and the hopes and expectations that the agreement had generated, the picture today appeared “dispiriting and bleak”, with its goals out of reach, its provisions unimplemented and its deadlines disregarded. Settlement building continued, compromising the two-State solution, he said, emphasizing the need for international vigilance against such actions throughout the resumed negotiations. In that regard, he welcomed the European Union’s position on products originating from the settlements.
Wars, occupation, settlements and walls may provide temporary quiet and momentary domination, but they could not ensure real security, he warned, pointing out that such policies did not create rights or provide legitimacy. What was required was heeding the lessons of history, abandoning force, recognizing the rights of others and dealing on an equal footing to make peace. Palestine was confident that the Israeli people wanted peace and supported a two-State solution, which was why it continued to reach out, trying to build bridges instead of walls, and to sow the seeds of good neighbourliness. Palestinian refugees were paying a particularly high price for conflict and instability, and thousands had abandoned their camps and fled in another exodus.
Meanwhile, Israeli settlement construction continued and Palestinians were forbidden from cultivating or irrigating their own land, he continued. The wall and checkpoints continued to tear their lives apart and to destroy the economy. Settlers had committed 708 terrorist attacks against mosques and churches. Still, Palestinians worked to build institutions and internal unity, working for reconciliation through a return to the ballot box, while opposing occupation and oppression by peaceful means. Assuring the Assembly that he was working for a just peace, he warned that the current round of negotiations seemed like the last chance, and urged the international community to seize it. “The hour of freedom for the Palestinian people has rung,” he declared. “The hour of peace has rung.”
A few comments:

1. What are the 'foundations of peace' that Abu Mazen claims long-standing and within reach? Do they include the following (from an open letter I wrote to then-President George W. Bush):
On October 3, 2006, Abu Mazen told al-Arabiya and 'Palestinian' television, "It is not required of Hamas, or of Fatah, or of the Popular Front to recognize Israel." I know that you said last night that "nations that support a two-state solution, reject violence, recognize Israel's right to exist, and commit to all previous agreements between the parties" would be invited to your conference in the fall. If that is the case, how will you invite Abu Mazen? He doesn't recognize Israel's right to exist!

On January 11, 2007, Abu Mazen was reported by the Jerusalem Post to have said, “We have a legitimate right to direct our guns against Israeli occupation ... Our rifles, all our rifles are aimed at The Occupation.” And on February 5, 2007, Abu Mazen said, “We must unite the Hamas and Fatah blood in the struggle against Israel as we did at the beginning of the intifada. We want a political partnership with Hamas.” Is that a 'rejection of violence'?

On January 11, 2007, referring to the so-called ‘right of return’ of 'Palestinian refugees' and their millions of descendants which, if implemented would end Israel as a Jewish state, Abu Mazen said, "The issue of the refugees is non-negotiable.” Is that supporting a two-state solution?
You also said that those who want to attend your conference have to commit to all previous agreements between the parties. But those agreements require Abu Mazen to disarm all terrorists and fight terrorism. According to a statement that he made on May 26, 2006, Abu Mazen regards terrorists as heroes and in January 2005 he said that disarming them is "a line that may not be crossed."
2. What “historic, unprecedented injustice” befell the 'Palestinian people' in 1948? Most of the 'Palestinians' who left Israel's territory in 1948 did so at the behest of their leaders who assured them that if they got out of the way, the Jews would be driven into the sea and they could return to their homes within a few days. Actions have consequences. If the 'Palestinians' in fact suffered an 'unprecedented injustice,' it was brought upon them by their own leadership.

Please note also that he's still talking about 1948 when the entire 'peace process' is based upon the conflict being limited to 1967.

3. Abu Mazen continues to complain about 'settlement building' but in the Oslo Accords, Israel did not commit to - in fact it explicitly refused to commit to - stopping 'settlement building.' The fact remains that Israel has not built any new 'settlements' since the Oslo Accords were signed - it has only built additional housing within existing 'settlements.'

4. How many 'Palestinians' were killed in the 708 alleged 'terrorist attacks' against mosques and churches (not that Abu Mazen could care less about Christians within his territory - their population continues to sink as it does throughout the entire region except for Israel)? How many Jews have been murdered in terror attacks since the Oslo Accords were signed?

Abu Mazen ended his speech with the usual threat that the current round of 'negotiations' seems like the 'last chance.' Same old, same old....

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