Obama Snub Likely to Set Tone for Abbas' UN Speech

Palestinian president not expected to drop any bombshells, but could say the PA no longer sees itself bound by Oslo obligations.

Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury
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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas addressing the United Nations General Assembly, at UN headquarters in New York, Sept. 26, 2014.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas addressing the United Nations General Assembly, at UN headquarters in New York, Sept. 26, 2014.Credit: AP
Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will address the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday evening, in the shadow of the cold shoulder he received from United States President Barack Obama, who made no mention of the Palestinians during his own address on Monday.

Abbas has hinted during several interviews with Arab media in recent weeks that he might drop a bombshell at the General Assembly. However, he has since clarified that his speech will not contain explosive material, such as a threat to disband the Palestinian Authority.

The president's speech is likely to differ from what he originally had in mind, if only in the terminology he uses, in the light of recent diplomatic meetings with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and others and Obama's total neglect of the Palestinians during his speech, Palestinian sources told Haaretz.

He is likely to deal at length with Israeli policy over the past year, the sources said, as well as the collapse of peace talks in 2014 over Israel's refusal to halt settlement and the ongoing violence on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Key words in President Obama's UN addressesCredit: Haaretz

Abbas is also likely to deal with the deaths of three members of the Dawabsheh family in the village of Duma last month and how it represents a clear violation of all Israel's commitments. In light of such incidents, the PA sees itself as being released from all its own undertakings, such as security coordination.

The president is also expected to declare that any resumption of the diplomatic process must be on the basis of the principles set by the Palestinian leadership, specifically a settlement freeze and the release of all veteran prisoners held in Israeli prisons since before the Oslo Accords.

It is not known whether Abbas will announce any personal steps, such as his resignation or a decision not to run again for the chairmanship of Fatah or any other leadership position in the organization.

In addition to his speech, Abbas will also participate in a ceremony marking the raising of the Palestinian flag at UN headquarters for the first time. The Palestinian leadership sees it as an important, if only symbolic, step.

Analysis of Abbas' UN speeches between 2010 and 2014 indicates the clear concern of the Palestinian leadership at the increasing remoteness of solutions to the occupation and Israeli settlement.

In 2010 he mentioned the occupation 10 times and peace 16 times. In 2014, he only mentioned peace eight times, while occupation appeared 22 times.

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