Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said at the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday that the Palestinian National Authority is no longer bound by the Oslo Accords, and called on Israel to “assume all its responsibilities as an occupying power”.
Abbas added that Israel must put an end to the “humiliating” checkpoints in the West Bank and lift the blockade on the Gaza Strip.
“Abbas called it a peaceful and proud gesture”.
Given that, Abbas says, “we can not continue to be bound by these agreements”.
According to the global Committee of the Red Cross, the duties of an occupying power include maintaining public order, providing food and medical supplies, ensuring public health, and facilitating the work of educational institutions, among other tasks. Hopes of setting up a Palestinian state have been derailed, and there are calls for the 80-year-old Abbas to resign and dissolve the Palestinian Authority. Israel accuses Abbas and his predecessor Yasser Arafat of rejecting far-reaching Israeli peace proposals and inciting further violence. “Abbas and Netanyahu are leaders who are afraid of making decisions, and instead emit slogans and mutual recriminations while leaving us to face a hard situation and an uncertain future”, he says.
On Wednesday, he said that Israel’s refusal to commit to agreements signed “render us an authority without real powers”.
Abbas delivered his address ahead of a ceremony to raise the Palestinian flag at the world body for the first time, alongside those of the UN’s 193 member states.
Reporting from Jerusalem, NPR’s Emily Harris reports that Abbas’ speech also comes on the first day the Palestinian flag was raised outside the U.N.in New York.
The General Assembly adopted a resolution September 10 allowing what it officially recognizes as the “State of Palestine” to raise its national flags outside of United Nations headquarters and United Nations offices. Palestinian diplomats say the State of Palestine is recognized by 137 states worldwide. But the peace process must be multilateral.
Weaving a connection to the issues of ISIS and Syria which did receive considerable attention by the speakers at the United Nations, Erekat asked, “Does President Obama think that he can fight terror and defeat ISIS and achieve peace and stability in the Middle East by continually ignoring the occupation and Israeli settlements in the West Bank and continued aggression against the Al-Aqsa Mosque?” “This is new. The promised bombshell has come true”.
As another case in point, he referred to the July 31 arson attack by extremist Israeli settlers in the town of Duma, located 25 kilometers (15 miles) southeast of the city of Nablus in the West Bank, which killed an 18-month-old Palestinian baby boy and inflicted burns on the victim’s parents and eventually led to their deaths, too.
Members of the Israeli delegation listen to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s address.