What Abbas Should Have Said in His UN Address

'Thanks for being so sure you are the chosen people. Thanks for never seeing the Palestinians as human beings. Belated thanks for the Nakba, too.’

Gideon Levy
Gideon Levy
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Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas addresses the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly September 26, 2014 in New York.
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas addresses the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly September 26, 2014 in New York. Credit: AFP
Gideon Levy
Gideon Levy

Here’s what Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas should have said in his address to the UN General Assembly on Friday:

“I stand here before you, at the end of yet another inevitable defensive war of Israel, a weak and tiny state struggling to survive, in order to convey my gratitude toward it. We say thank you to the Israeli David who once again defeated the Palestinian Goliath. Thank you to the meager band that defeated the Palestinian armies, and applaud it for having done so. Thanks to the most moral army in the world, which once again proved its ethical superiority. Thank you for the ‘knock on the roof,’ for employing the Hannibal Directive in Rafiah, for Shujaiyeh, for the hundreds of dead men, women and children, most of them innocent civilians, all of them marked for death. Thank you for killing just 2,200 people instead of 22,000. Thanks for bombing only some of the UN Relief and Works Agency schools, not all of them. Thanks for leveling only some of Gaza City’s high-rises and leaving a few for the next war. Thanks for bombing the power station and the only candy factory in the Gaza Strip. That was vital to your security. Thank you on behalf of all Palestinian children. And special thanks on behalf of the Dalu family, for leaving one cousin alive; thanks for your consideration and sensitivity.

“Thank you on behalf of the 110,000 Gazans who were left homeless and on behalf of those whose homes were destroyed for the first time only, not the second or third. Thank you on behalf of the 1,000 children you rendered disabled, the 1,500 who were orphaned and the 360,000 Gazans with mental health problems as a result of this war, on whose behalf I thank you because they cannot for now. In general, thank you for this war, the most moral and just war in history.

“Thank you for the peace efforts of the Israeli government, and particularly those of the prime minister. Thanks for his promise of two states. Thanks for the continued unrestricted construction in the settlements, thanks for the land robbery. Special thanks for the 4,000 dunam [1,000 acres] you stole in Gush Etzion; the Etzion Bloc deserves them. Thanks for the home demolitions, for the ethnic cleansing attempt in the Jordan Valley and the south Hebron hills. Special thanks to the Hebron settlers for existing. Thanks for the separation barrier, the blockade and the cruel separation of the West Bank from the Gaza Strip. Thanks for the ongoing brutal shooting at fishermen off the Gaza coast, which of course is not considered a violation of the cease-fire. Thanks for the nighttime arrests, and for the daytime arrests too. Special thanks on behalf of the thousands of prisoners, some of them political prisoners, for whom Israel built toilet stalls in its prisons. Heartfelt thanks also, on behalf of the hundreds of detained children. Thanks for the humiliations at checkpoints, and for the checkpoints themselves. Thanks for the justice of the military judges, the compassion of the clerks of the occupation and the humanity of the Shin Bet security service interrogators. We couldn’t have done it without them.

“Thanks for being so sure that you are the chosen people, to whom all is permitted, of course. Thanks for never seeing the Palestinians as human beings like yourselves. Thanks for your constant disregard of international law. Belated thanks for the Nakba, too. For expelling and driving out 650,000 people. Thanks for wiping more than 400 villages off the map and leaving no trace, no memorial. Thanks for not letting any of the villagers return to their homes and for not considering compensation. Thanks for taking no responsibility for your actions, expressing no regret and making no apology. A special (and final) thanks for the fact that for you the 1948 war never ended, and you continue the same policy of dispossession, destruction and killing to this very day. Thanks for bringing us to this point.”

Oops, Abbas never said such things. Instead, he told the truth. When he said the Palestinians had been “uprooted from ... their good land,” the Israeli television commentator explained that this was a “harsh speech of incitement.” The entire nationalist chorus, from the Labor Party on, with the backup singers of the United States, broke out in shrieks of shock and condemnation. Honestly! How dare Abbas, that ingrate!

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