UN General Assembly – 23.9.11 - AP
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas gestures toward the audience after he addressed the 66th UN General Assembly, Sept. 23, 2011. Photo by AP
Text size

Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Ali Amr attacked Israel in a speech to UN General Assembly on Saturday, calling on the nations of the world to recognize a Palestinian state.

The senior diplomat recognized the auspiciousness of the event; it was the first time an Egyptian minister had addressed the UN since the revolution that ousted former President Hosni Mubarak earlier this year.

He opened his speech saying, "I stand here before you, a representative of the new Egypt – an Egypt which has chosen a new era.” However, the Egyptian minister quickly switched to anti-Israel rhetoric.

Ali Amr called on all UN members to recognize the Palestinian state, saying that “the establishment of a Palestinian state is the only way to achieve a just peace based on two states.” He then proceeded to attack Israel, which according to him was ignoring the international community, continuing its policy of settlement expansion, relentlessly continuing the blockade on Gaza, violently assaulting civilians, and continuously violating international law.

He added that it was absurd to negotiate peace while Israel was continuing to build in east Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Ali Amr expressed Egypt’s support for the Palestinian people who are “still denied their rights, including independence, freedom and a sovereign state with holy Jerusalem as its capital, based on 1967 lines.” He then accused Israel of being interested in never-ending negotiations. He claimed that Egypt will continue to work to put an end to the Israeli occupation in a bid to find a final agreement on “all controversial issues”

MK Ahmed Tibi said in a speech at New York’s Colombia University on Saturday, that the Palestinian leadership was considering boycotting the Quartet envoy to the region, Tony Blair. “There are voiced in the Palestinian leadership that call for a boycott of Tony Blair, who holds positions that are against the Palestinian nation.”

Tibi addressed the large crowd, accusing U.S. President Barak Obama of holding a “double standard that ignores Palestinians’ right to freedom.” The lecture was held under heavy security out of concern that Jewish students would hold a counter-demonstration.

The Israeli-Arab MK also expressed opposition to Netanyahu’s demand that the PLO recognize Israel as a Jewish state.