Samantha Power, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, told the General Assembly before the vote that the United States is committed to achieving the peace between Palestinians and Israelis but “raising the Palestinian flag outside the U.N. Headquarters is not an alternative to negotiations and will not bring the parties closer to peace”.
It was Abbas’ most serious warning yet that he might walk away from engagement with Israel and dissolve the Palestinian Authority, although he stopped short of accompanying his threat with a deadline. He has threatened to drop a “bombshell” in the speech later Wednesday – prompting speculation he will sever ties with Israel over its settlement expansion and other hard-line policies.
Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, Tuvaluand the United States all voted against the measure.
“We therefore declare that we can not continue to be bound by these agreements and that Israel must assume all of its responsibilities as an occupying power, ” he declared.
But Barghouti also called on the Palestinian leadership to take several steps in order to end the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.
Abbas’ tough talk could be an attempt to mask his political weakness.
Clashes in recent weeks between Israeli police and Palestinians at the sensitive Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem have raised tensions and prompted Abbas to warn of the risk of a third intifada.
“It is unreasonable and painful – in light of all the enormous sacrifices we have made, our patience over all of these years of exile and suffering, and our acceptance to make peace… – that the question of Palestine unjustly remains unresolved”, he said. “Until then, I call upon the United Nations to provide global protection for the Palestinian people in accordance with worldwide humanitarian law”.
“A peaceful, fair and just solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict exists”.
Abbas, 80, called it “our moment of hope”, in an op-ed published by The Huffington Post on the eve of the ceremony.
Israel controls our territory, natural resources, economic affairs and our daily lives, violating every fundamental human right of the Palestinian people.
“The General Assembly’s vote confirmed again that we, the people of Palestine, are not alone in our quest for freedom, fulfillment of our rights and an end to decades of Israeli occupation and oppression”.
Abbas’s move could also have implications for his efforts to get the worldwide Criminal Court to investigate Israel’s military actions and the legality of Israeli settlements.
There was no immediate comment from Israel.