During his speech before the UN General Assembly today, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas declared he is no longer bound by the Oslo Accords because of alleged violations by Israel.
“The sense of pride among the Palestinian people was overwhelming the day the world voted in favour of this landmark initiative”, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas wrote for the Huffington Post on Tuesday.
“Palestine, which is an observer state in the United Nations, deserves full recognition and full membership”, Abbas said. He insisted that the only way Palestinians could achieve statehood was through direct negotiations.
“Unlike the Palestinians, Israel is closely safeguarding the status quo at the Temple Mount and is committed to continue and keep it, according to all the understandings between us and the Jordanians and the Waqf”, Mr Netanyahu continued, using the Jewish name for the complex. “We didn’t hear from him annulling all the agreements he signed with Israel”.
If Abbas were to go through with his demand that Israel assume responsibility for the Palestinians, as the occupying power in the territories, this would require dissolving the Palestinian Authority and the Abbas’ resignation. Secretary-General of the PLO Executive Committee Saeb Erekat was “disappointed” that Obama failed to address the conflict.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded that Israel expects the Palestinian Authority to “act responsibly” and return to peace negotiations. “Our quest is not for another failing Arab state with a meaningless flag and useless institutions, but for a homeland that was stripped from us…”
That drew scrutiny from a few of Palestine’s strongest supporters, including Turkey.
“You need the change here, not in the United Nations”, said Mohammed Ali, a souvenir shop owner in the Old City. Many observers say, however, the accords were never fully implemented. The immediate repercussions of the Palestinian leader’s speech, which his aides had earlier billed as containing a “bombshell”, are uncertain.
Last year, the Palestinian president called on the Security Council to pass a resolution setting a deadline for an Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian territory along the 1967 borders.
In his speech to the world body, Abbas accused Israel of violating not only the initial Oslo accords but also other follow-up agreements, and said that Palestine’s “patience has come to an end”.
During his address to the General Assembly, Turkish PM Davutoglu said that hoisting the Palestinian flag is a “significant step toward enabling the parties to stand at an equal footing at the table, for a healthy negotiation process that leads to an equitable and sustainable peace”.
“A few weeks ago, the same assembly approved flying the Palestinian flag with the flags of U.N. member nations at the organization’s offices”.
This month, the same body sanctioned a resolution allowing such observers to fly their flag at the UN. Israel has decried the move as a photo op that avoids the hard decisions to reach real peace.
Abbas also warned about the “grave dangers” in Jerusalem, “where Israeli groups are committing repeated, systematic incursions upon Al-Aqsa Mosque”. Abbas is going nowhere, and neither is the Palestinian Authority.