At U.N., Abbas Gives Israel One-Year Ultimatum Before Pursuing ICC Action

YERUSHALAYIM -
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas delivers a speech remotely at the UN General Assembly 76th session General Debate in U.N. General Assembly Hall at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City, Friday. (John Angelillo/Pool via REUTERS)

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel on Friday of destroying the two-state solution with actions he said could lead Palestinians to demand equal rights within one binational state comprising Israel, Yehudah, Shomron and the Gaza Strip.

Addressing the U.N. General Assembly via video link from Ramallah, Abbas urged the international community to act to save the two-state formula.

Abbas said Israel was “destroying the prospect of a political settlement based on the two-state solution.”

“If the Israeli occupation authorities continue to entrench the reality of one apartheid state as is happening today, our Palestinian people and the entire world will not tolerate such a situation,” Abbas said.

“Circumstances on the ground will inevitably impose equal and full political rights for all on the land of historical Palestine, within one state. In all cases, Israel has to choose,” Abbas said.

In his U.N. address, Abbas threatened to rescind the Palestinians’ recognition of Israel.

The Palestinian Authority is “ready to work throughout this year on the delineation of borders and solving all final status issues under the auspices of the international Quartet and in accordance with United Nations resolutions. If this is not achieved, why maintain recognition of Israel based on the 1967 borders?”

He further used the global stage to warn that unless Israel yields to the Palestinians’ demands and withdraws from Yehudah, Shomron, Gaza Strip and east Yerushalayim within one year, the PA would press charges against Israel in the International Criminal Court.

Israel pulled out of the Gaza Strip in 2005. Two years later, the Islamist terrorist group Hamas – the archrival of Abbas’ Fatah movement – ousted him from the coastal enclave in a military coup.

The issue of ceding any part of Yerushalayim as part of a deal with the Palestinians has been rejected by governments since the capital’s east and west sides were united following the Six Day War. In late 2017, then-President Donald Trump decreed that the United States recognizes Yerushalayim as the Israeli capital and moved his embassy there.

Referring to the 1993 Oslo Accords, Abbas said that the Palestinians “remained committed to all of its elements to this day” and castigated Israel, saying it has “not honored its obligations under the signed agreements and has evaded participating in peace initiatives and instead pursued its expansionist, colonial enterprise, destroying the prospect of a political settlement based on the two-state solution.”

On the topic of Israel’s coalition government, Abbas said the “current and former governments have persisted in evading the two-State solution” and instead insisted on “presenting illusionary economic and security plans as an alternative.”

Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Gilad Erdan slammed the speech, saying that in the address “Abbas proved once again that he is no longer relevant.

“It is no coincidence that 80% of Palestinians want him to step down. He once offered to sue the United Kingdom over the Balfour Declaration. Today, he wants to return to the U.N. Partition Plan. But most important of all, he lied about the Palestinians refusal to make peace. Those who truly support peace and negotiations do not threaten delusional ultimatums from the U.N. platform as he did in his speech,” Erdan said in a video posted on social media.

Calls for Abbas to resign have intensified since the death in June of anti-corruption activist Nizar Banat while in the custody of Palestinian security forces.

The 85-year-old leader was elected for a four-year term in 2005 but has continuously skirted around elections, calling them off repeatedly. The PA was slated to hold presidential and parliamentary elections in June, but Abbas again called them off, blaming Israel.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is set to speak at the United Nations on Monday. He has previously ruled out meeting his Palestinian counterpart, as long as Abbas continues to seek ICC action against Israel.