U.S. Reform Movement Condemns Abbas' Speech for 'Risking Regional Escalation'

Abbas' remarks 'undercut possibilities for a peace process,' says the movement's president, urging commitment to two-state solution

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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a meeting in Ramallah on January 12, 2018.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a meeting in Ramallah on January 12, 2018.Credit: ABBAS MOMANI/AFP
Amir Tibon
Amir Tibon

The Movement for Reform Judaism in the United States condemned on Tuesday Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' recent speech in which he attacked the United States and claimed that Israel was created by colonial powers.

"Such statements and actions undercut possibilities for a peace process that alone holds the path to a viable and independent Palestinian state," the movement said in a written statement attributed to its president, Rabbi Rick Jacobs.

"While the on-the-ground ramifications of these statements are still unclear, there is no doubt that these statements risk a new and very dangerous escalation of tensions between Israel and the Palestinians," Jacobs added. "We continue to believe that the only future for a Jewish democratic State of Israel is to end its rule over millions of Palestinians."

Jacbos urged "responsible forces in the Palestinian community, Israel, the U.S. and international community, who remain committed to a two-state solution, to do everything feasible to restart movement in that direction."

Last month, the Reform movement came under fire for releasing a statement opposing U.S. President Donald Trump's speech on Jerusalem, criticizing its content and timing while also expressing support for the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Abbas' speech was also denounced by the left-wing Jewish group J Street, which stated that the Palestinian "deep despair and frustration" is "no excuse for calling into question either the Jewish connection to, or Palestinian recognition of, the state of Israel – or for language and proposals that are justifiably earning widespread condemnation."

J street stated that Abbas' speech "and the undercutting of Americas role as a mediator in this conflict – would not have come about if it were not for President Trumps inept and disastrous missteps regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. By appointing a settlement movement ally as Ambassador to Israel, refusing to endorse the two-state solution and upending longstanding US policy on Jerusalem, the president and his team have taken one step after another to destroy the chances of peaceful resolution of the conflict."

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