LONDON // In his speech to the UN General Assembly today, President Mahmoud Abbas issued the starkest warning yet that Palestinian patience is at an end and that there must be real tangible change on the ground within one year.
Israel, he said, had acted methodically and consistently to undermine a two-state solution and brought us to a “racist” one-state reality.
He called on UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to convene an international peace conference in line with the internationally-recognised terms of reference to settle all outstanding issues.
He warned Israel that it has one year to end its occupation, after which the Palestinian leadership will go to the International Court of Justice to rule on the legality of Israel’s occupation.
President Abbas also said that the Palestinian leadership could withdraw its recognition of Israel should Israel fail to withdraw from all occupied territory, including East Jerusalem.
Should Israel choose to forego the opportunity of a two-state solution on 1967 borders, Palestinians can choose either to fall back on the UN’s Partition Resolution 181 of 1947, or to pursue equal rights in one state on all the territory of historic Palestine.
President Abbas thanked the international community for its political and material support.
But, he said, “the time has come to take tangible steps to revive hope and end the Israeli occupation of our land and people and to consecrate the values of justice and peace in our region.
He said international actors had failed to take the necessary steps to hold Israel accountable and instead had rewarded Israel for its intransigence with arms and trade deals. It is time for those who recognise Israel on 1967 borders to also recognise the State of Palestine on 1967 borders.
On domestic issues, President Abbas said the Palestinian leadership remained committed to a partnership between state institutions, civil society and human rights organisations to ensure the rule of law, human rights and freedom of expression.
He said elections would be held as soon as Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem can vote. A national unity government, he added, must agree on international legitimacy.
President Abbas expressed gratitude to all those around the world who took part in demonstrations to demand an end to Israel’s occupation and ethnic cleansing.
“This is an awakening, recognizing the true Palestinian story, and I urge all to continue raising and defending it and defending the Palestinian right to life, equality and statehood.”
He also said he was tired, as are all Palestinians, with decades of oppression and denial of rights.
“Why should a Palestinian continue living either under Israel’s racist occupation or as a refugee in neighbouring countries? Are there no other alternatives, freedom for example? The Palestinian everywhere is a creative and dynamic human being and the entire world can testify to that. Palestinian deserve to live free in their homeland”.