Abbas to UN: No Peace Without Palestinian State With East Jerusalem as Its Capital, Including Holy Sites

Palestinian president: Nation-state law nullifies two-state solution ■ 'U.S. disqualified as sole mediator of peace process'

Noa Landau
Noa Landau
New York
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Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas addresses the 73rd session of the General Assembly at the United Nations in New York, September 27, 2018
Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas addresses the 73rd session of the General Assembly at the United Nations in New York, September 27, 2018Credit: AFP
Noa Landau
Noa Landau
New York

NEW YORK - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday that there would be no peace without a "an independent Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem as its capital, and not some place in East Jerusalem as its capital, and with all of its holy sites."

>>FULL TEXT: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' 2018 UN General Assembly speech

Opening his speech by stating "Jerusalem is not for sale, and the rights of the Palestinian people are not up for bargaining," the Palestinian president said that Israel's "racist" nation-state law nullifies the two-state solution, adding that it will lead to a single "racist, apartheid state." He said that Israel's "colonial occupation continues to suffocate us."

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Abbas criticized the Trump administration's recent moves on Jerusalem's status as Israel's capital, moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and aid cuts, saying they have undermined the two-state solution and reneged on previous agreements.

"We awaited his peace initiative with utmost patience, but were shocked by decisions and actions he undertook that completely contradict the role and commitment of the United States towards the peace process," Abbas said.

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The Palestinian president then called on Trump to rescind his decisions and public decrees on Jerusalem, refugees and settlements to salvage the prospects of peace.

"It is ironic that the American administration still talks about what they call the deal of the century," he continued. "But what is left for this administration to give to the Palestinian people? Humanitarian solutions?" Abbas said that "we are not against negotiations and have never rejected negotiations, and that we continue to extend our hands for peace."

Abbas said that "we will not accept sole American mediation in the peace process because the U.S. has lost its eligibility - they are too biased toward Israel."

"While we welcome all the economic and humanitarian support to our people in the West Bank and Gaza through legitimate Palestinian institutions, we refuse that this support be considered a substitute to a political solution that would bring an end to the Israeli occupation," Abbas stated.

Abbas concluded his speech by "paying tribute to our honorable martyrs and courageous prisoners - why is Rabin’s assassin considered a hero in Israel and we cannot pay our prisoners?"

Hours before his address, Abbas' spokesperson slammed Netanyahu's rare comment that he is "willing for the Palestinians to have the authority to rule themselves without the authority to harm us."

The Palestinian president's spokesperson, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, rejected Netanyahu's endorsement of a Palestinian state over which Israel would have security control. "We will only agree to an independent and sovereign Palestinian state at the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital."

Abu Rudeineh went on to say that the Palestinians "will not agree to any presence of the soldiers of the occupation on our Palestinian land. As far as we're concerned the entire settlement enterprise is illegitimate, and we will reject any idea or proposal that breach decisions made by the international community."

On Wednesday, a Palestinian official denied that Abbas was offered and rejected a potential meeting with Netanyahu.

"The Israelis should leave their old blame game tactics. The only fact here is that we did not reject any meeting. They did not ask to meet to start with," a Palestinian official said, in New York. "President Abbas accepted to meet Mr. Netanyahu in several occasions, but it’s the Israeli PM the one who never shows up. Netanyahu knows well that we have clear positions in all issues and that the only position his government has regarding Palestine is apartheid.”

Netanyahu's comment Wednesday was given during a press briefing to reporters in New York and was the first such overt expression of willingness to see a Palestinian state formed since the premier made his "Bar Ilan" foreign policy speech in 2009.

Netanyahu has refrained since then from clarifying his stance on a Palestinian state, but told Haaretz that "it is important to set what is inadmissible to us: Israel will not relinquish security control west of Jordan. This will not happen as long as I'm prime minister and I think the Americans understand that."

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