Thursday, October 1, 2015

Israel slams Palestinian president's speech at UN assembly

Israel slammed on Wednesday the speech made by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the United Nations General Assembly, saying it was "deceitful" and "encourages incitement and lawlessness" in the Middle East.

Addressing the annul high-level debate of the UN General Assembly in New York, Abbas accused Israel of refusing to adhere to the 1993 Oslo accords, and stated that the Palestinian Authority would no longer be bound by these agreements, hinting at the dissolution of the self-governing body.

"We therefore declare that we cannot continue to be bound by these agreements and that Israel must assume all of its responsibilities as an occupying power," Abbas said in his speech.

Abbas also accused Israel of pursuing a scheme to divide the al-Aqsa mosque compound, which Muslims revere as the Noble sanctuary and is called as the Temple Mount by Jews, "in direct violation of the status quo since before 1967 and thereafter."

"In contrast to the Palestinians, Israel is strictly maintaining the status quo on the Temple Mount and is committed to continuing to do so in accordance with the agreements between us and the Jordanians and the Waqf (the Islamic religious authority that oversees the holy site)," said the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a statement issued shortly after Abbas delivered his speech at the UN.

The statement did not respond directly to Abbas' declaration about the Oslo accords, but called on the Palestinian leader to resume direct talks with Israel.

"We expect and call on the (Palestinian) authority and its leader to act responsibly and accede to the proposal of the prime minister of Israel and enter into direct negotiations with Israel without preconditions," it said.

"The fact that he, time and again, has refused to do so is the best possible proof of the fact he does not intend to reach a peace agreement," Netanyahu's office charged.

Netanyahu himself is currently in New York and will speak in front of the UN assembly on Thursday evening.

Abbas, who said prior to his speech that he would drop a "bombshell," said on Wednesday that the Palestinian Authority is rendered powerless due to Israel's violations of the 1993 Oslo Accords.

He accused Israel of "negotiating for the sake of negotiating," trying to keep the status quo in the conflict in place, and continuing the construction of settlements.

"This leaves us no choice but to insist that we will not remain the only ones committed to the implementation of these agreements, while Israel continuously violates them," he said.

Nevertheless, Abbas didn't reveal what follow-up measures the Palestinian side would take to implement this declaration.

 Xinhua - china.org.cn
1/10/15

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