Prime Minister Naftali Bennett criticized Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas for using his address at the United Nations General Assembly to threaten Israel to reverse its recognition of the 1967 borders unless it withdrew from Yehudah, Shomron, the Gaza Strip and East Yerushalayim within one year.
“We do not define ourselves according to others, not Iran and not the Palestinians, and in any case, I suggest that their leaders start focusing on helping their people, improve their situation and stop their obsession with the State of Israel,” Bennett told reporters at Ben-Gurion International Airport moments before departing for New York, where he is slated to address the UNGA on Monday.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz also lambasted Abbas, calling his ultimatum “a tall tree that will be hard to climb down from.”
“It is important to remember one thing – no one is going anywhere,” he told local media. “The only way to deal with this reality is to develop security, develop the economy and strengthen the governance of the Palestinian Authority.”
While Gantz criticized Abbas for the ultimatum, he nevertheless commended the Palestinian leader for pursuing a diplomatic resolution with Israel. Gantz met with Abbas in August to discuss “defense issues concerning Israel and the PA,” according to a statement by the Prime Minister’s Office.
Israel’s Ambassador to the U.N. Gilad Erdan said that “in his speech at the U.N., Abu Mazen [Abbas] proved once again that he is no longer relevant. It is no coincidence that 80% of Palestinians want him to leave his position.”
A poll published by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) last week shows a “significant increase” in the demand for Abbas’ resignation, with almost 80% making the demand, an unprecedented finding.
“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,” said Erdan.