Statement of H.E. President Mahmoud Abbas President of the State of Palestine UN General Assembly General Debate of the 75 th Session 25 September 2020

In the name of God, the Merciful,
H.E. Mr. Volkan Bozkir, President of the General Assembly
H.E. Mr. António Guterres, Secretary General
Ladies and Gentlemen, Heads and Members of delegations,

I wondered while preparing this statement what more could I tell you, after all that I have said in previous statements, about the perpetual tragedy and suffering being endured by my people – which the world is witness to daily – and about their legitimate aspirations – which are yet to be fulfilled – to freedom, independence and human dignity, as enjoyed by the peoples of the world.

Until when, ladies and gentlemen, will the question of Palestine remain without a just solution as enshrined in United Nations resolutions? Until when will the Palestinian people remain under Israeli occupation and will the question of millions of Palestine refugees remain without a just solution in accordance with what the United Nations has determined over 70 years ago?

Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Palestinian people have been present in their homeland, Palestine, the land of their ancestors, for over 6000 years, and they will continue living on this land, steadfast in the face of occupation, aggression and the disappointments and betrayals, until the fulfilment of their rights. Despite all they have endured and continue to endure, despite the unjust blockade that targets our national decision, we will not kneel or surrender and we will not deviate from our fundamental positions, and we shall overcome, God willing.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
We have accepted the rule of international law and UN resolutions, and we have done so in spite of the historic injustice that we have borne from 1917 to the present day, and even though these resolutions only acknowledged as Palestinian the territories occupied in 1967. Yet, the Israeli occupying Power, with the support of the present US administration, wants to substitute this basis for a just solution with the US ‘Deal of the Century’ and the planned annexation of over 33% of the land of the State of Palestine, in addition to the annexation of occupied East Jerusalem, including Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. We have rejected this deal, as did the international community, as it contravenes international law and
UN resolutions, which recognized, inter alia, the existence of the State of Palestine in 2012 as part of the international order.

We have always sought a just, comprehensive and lasting peace, and we have agreed to all the initiatives presented to us. I have personally dedicated my life to achieving this desired peace, notably since 1988, followed by the Madrid Conference and the Oslo Accords in 1993, and to this very day. We accepted and remained committed to the Arab Peace Initiative, as it provides for peace, security and coexistence once the occupation ends. We did all of this for peace.

What did Israel, the occupying Power, do in return? It violated all agreements signed with us, undermined the two-State solution through its oppressive practices of killing and maiming, arrests, home demolitions, asphyxiating our economy, and systematically acting to alter the character and identity of occupied Jerusalem, attacking its Muslim and Christian holy sites, notably Al-Aqsa Mosque, and pursuing its settler colonialism on our land and against our people, ignoring the Arab Peace Initiative for peace and actively attempting now to kill another opportunity for peace through reckless unilateral measures.

Finally, it announces normalization agreements with both the UAE and Bahrain, in violation of the Arab Peace Initiative, and the terms of reference of a comprehensive, lasting and just solution in accordance with international law. The Palestine Liberation Organization has not
given a mandate to anyone to speak or negotiate on behalf of the Palestinian people and the only path to lasting, comprehensive and just peace in our region requires ending the occupation and securing the independence of the State of Palestine on the 1967 borders with East
Jerusalem as its capital.

In this regard, I call on the Secretary-General of the United Nations to undertake, in cooperation with the Quartet and the Security Council, preparations to convene an international conference with full authority and with the participation of all concerned parties, early next year, to engage in a genuine peace process, based on international law, UN resolutions and the relevant terms of reference, leading to an end the occupation and the achievement by the Palestinian people of their freedom and independence within their State, with East Jerusalem as its capital, on the 1967 borders, and resolving all final status issues, notably the question of the refugees, based on resolution 194.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Those who believe the Palestinian people can coexist with the occupation or be subdued by pressure and diktats are under an illusion, as are those who are being misled to believe that they can circumvent our people, who bear this struggle and are its only address. Let everyone know there will be no peace, no security, no stability and no coexistence in our region while
this occupation continues and a just, comprehensive solution to the question of Palestine, the core of the conflict, remains denied.

In Palestine, ladies and gentlemen, there is a living nation, creative, civilized, peace-loving, aspiring passionately to freedom. A nation that has been able – despite the occupation that besieges our lives – to build an active and modern society, that believes in democracy and the
rule of law and has been able to preserve its national existence and identity despite all the political and philosophical differences between its diverse components. Here we are, despite all the obstacles that you know too well, preparing ourselves to hold parliamentary elections, followed by presidential elections, with the participation of all factions and political parties.

We will continue creating life and hope under the flag of national unity and democracy. We will continue resisting all attempts and plans to erase us, and we will secure our rightful and natural place among nations and exercise the rights granted to us by international legitimacy, including our right to resist this occupation in accordance with international law.

We will continue building the institutions of our State and consolidating them on the basis of the rule of law. We will continue combating international terrorism, as we have done for years past. We will remain faithful to peace, justice, human and national dignity under all circumstances. I salute the great Palestinian people that bravely pursues the struggle for freedom and independence. I salute our martyrs, prisoners and wounded. I salute Jerusalem and our people who remain steadfast in its holy sites. I salute our people in the besieged Gaza Strip. I salute our people in the refugee camps everywhere. I salute all those who stand with us and with our rights from all countries, nations and organizations.

Peace be upon you.

Statement by H.E. President Mahmoud Abbas, President of the State of Palestine, Delivered before the United Nations Security Council on The Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestine Question on 11 February 2020

Mr. President, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I come before you to appeal on behalf of 13 million Palestinians for a just peace, nothing more, nothing less. I come before you to reaffirm the Palestinian position of rejection of the US-Israel deal, supported by the positions of the League of Arab States, Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and African Union, which all categorically rejected this deal, in addition to the statements by the European Union, Russia, China and Japan and the countries of the world, as well as, and I want to particularly mention them, the statements by the Secretary-General, all reaffirming commitment to the international terms of reference and United Nations resolutions.

This broad rejection of the deal stems from the unilateral positions contained in it, and the fact it clearly violates international law, United Nations resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative; ignores the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people and their right to self-determination, freedom, independence in their own State; and attempts to grant legitimacy to illegal measures such as the settlements and expropriation and annexation of Palestinian land.

I stress here that this deal or any part of it should not be considered as an international basis or reference for negotiations as it constitutes a US-Israel preemptive deal aimed at liquidating the Palestinian cause. The fact alone that it denies Palestinian sovereignty over East Jerusalem warrants its rejection. The fact that it transforms our people and land into fragmented, isolated communities warrants its rejection. The fact that it deprives us of control over our land, borders, water, and airspace warrants its rejection. The fact that it erases the question of Palestine refugees warrants its rejection.

This plan destroys the basis on which the peace process was launched. It disregards the signed agreements based on the vision of two States on 1967 borders. It will not bring security or peace to our region. We therefore cannot accept it and will confront its implementation on the ground.

Here is the conclusion of the plan that was presented to us (shows conceptual map), and the “State” that it gives us, and that looks like Swiss cheese. Who among you would accept such a State?

This deal, ladies and gentlemen, contains diktats, consecrates occupation and annexation by military force, and would lead to an Apartheid system, an anachronistic reality being implemented today in Palestine. It rewards occupation instead of holding it accountable for the crimes it has committed for decades against our people and land.

I want to express our gratitude for the positions expressed by countries, regional and international organizations, parliaments, and Members of the Security Council that have risen along our side to defend the international consensus, based on international law and relevant UN resolutions. I also want to thank Israelis – yes Israelis – who expressed rejection of this deal in various ways. 300 Israeli officers have declared rejection of the deal, they say we now fight for justice (shows the petition). We also salute the demonstrations in Tel Aviv against this deal. We also express appreciation to the members of US Congress and Senate as well as US organizations and free voices that have expressed such rejection, and we value their commitment and their support to peace and to international legitimacy (shows letters by 107 Members of Congress and by 12 Senators, including 3 Presidential candidates).

And we salute our Palestinian people, and Arab and Muslim peoples and all peace-loving nations around the world. Palestinians have come out in thousands, hundreds of thousands, in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, despite freezing temperatures, to say no to this unjust plan. So it is not as some may say that it is only Abu Mazen and a couple of people who reject the plan. Hundreds of thousands took to the streets to say no; tens of thousands around the world also came out to say no. To those who still insist that this deal is fair, we say it is not.

I come before you today to say that peace between the Palestinian and Israeli peoples is still possible and achievable. I have come here to build an international partnership to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting peace, which remains our strategic objective.

This deal does not constitute an international endeavor. It came from one country with the support of another with the aim of imposing it on the world and against international legitimacy as enshrined in hundreds of United Nations resolutions, including tens of Security Council resolutions. This deal is unacceptable.

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen Members of the Council,

I must ask: why the insistence to unilaterally draft this US-Israeli plan, despite the fact that we were in a dialogue with the US administration all of 2017 and discussed all final status issues, including in a long dialogue between President Trump and myself. We spoke at length about the international legitimacy, the vision of two States. He told me he was ready to immediately announce that he adhered to this vision. We spoke of the 1967 borders, Jerusalem, security and all other issues that were not settled in Oslo.

I was pleased with this dialogue with him, only then to be surprised by the announcement of Jerusalem “undivided capital of Israel” and the transfer of the US embassy and calls to the rest of the international community to follow suit; the closure of the PLO office in Washington; the cutting of assistance to us, $840 million worth of aid; the termination of funding to UNRWA. I don’t know who gave such dreadful advice. The President Trump I know is not like that, and I don’t know where these actions came from.

Let me recall that the Madrid Peace Conference, the Oslo Accords, the Washington negotiations, as well as the Annapolis Conference for peace, were all on the basis of the international terms of reference and United Nations resolutions and called for negotiations on all final status issues, including Jerusalem, which was an issue for negotiation not imposition or preemption, and not a grant to be given to Israel. No, this is an occupied territory. Who has the right to give it away? This Council is the highest authority in the world and we accept your rulings and decisions.

All throughout, ladies and gentlemen, we remained committed to implementation of all agreements concluded with Israel, and acted responsibly, and that is why we achieved the respect of the world. 140 countries have recognized the State of Palestine and we have become an integral part of the international system as an observer State. We have not been able to become a Member State because of the prospect of a US veto. We joined over 120 Conventions, agencies and organizations, and we, the observer State, chaired the Group of 77 and China for the year 2019. We do exist.

And we continue building the national institutions of our State based on the rule of law and the international standards for a modern, democratic State, as well as on transparency and accountability, including fighting against corruption. Indeed, our country is at the forefront of the efforts to fight corruption, and this young State still under occupation is corruption free and those who say otherwise can come and see for themselves. I invite the Security Council to send a fact-finding mission to Palestine on this and all matters.

We have worked to empower women and youth and spread the culture of peace among our people, all our people. We tell them we reject war and terror, violence and terror worldwide, and we have concluded protocols with 83 countries first and foremost with the United States, as well as Canada, Russia, Japan, and others, to fight terrorism. We are not terrorists. And, regardless of what we endure, we will remain committed to the fight against terrorism.

We held elections three times, as we believe in democracy, but Israel refuses to let us organize elections. Why? Because they prevent us from organizing elections in Jerusalem, despite the fact that we held elections there in 1996, 2005 and 2006. Now as Jerusalem is being considered the “undivided capital of Israel” we are being prevented from holding elections there. That is not acceptable. East Jerusalem is ours and West Jerusalem is theirs, and both countries can cooperate together.

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen Members of the Council,

They say we missed the opportunities for peace. This is not true. Abba Eban happened to say one day that “Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity”. Where did he come up with this, I do not know. And Kushner is repeating it. What is the opportunity that we have missed? Don’t use such silly slogans.

We have accepted all United Nations resolutions, starting with Security Council resolutions 242 and 338, all the way to 2334, adopted three years ago by your Council. We became an active actor on the international arena. In 1993, we concluded the interim Oslo Accords and remained committed to all its provisions and to the exchange of letters between us and Israel, which provide for mutual recognition. In Oslo we recognized the right of Israel to exist, as stated by Yasser Arafat, and Rabin recognized the PLO as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. What opportunities did we miss?

We were receptive to the efforts of successive US administrations and engaged with them, as well as with international initiatives and all invitations for dialogue and negotiations. Yet, at no point in these efforts was the bare minimum of justice for our people based on international law and United Nations resolutions ever presented. And, now, this current government representing the occupying Power is actively undermining all international efforts.

We have dealt with every opportunity seriously as peace is in the interest of our people and of the peoples of the world.

Several countries invited us, Russia, Japan, Belgium, Netherlands, to meet with Netanyahu on their soil and Netanyahu never honored such an invitation. I went three times to Moscow and Netanyahu never came. So who does not want peace?

So tell me what opportunities have we missed?

At the same time, Israeli governments and Israeli settlers continue destroying any prospect for peace, accelerating their colonial settlement activities all over the occupied West Bank, constructing settlements unchecked, alter the character of occupied Jerusalem, pursuing their aggression against Muslim and Christian holy sites, expropriating land, and continuing their war and blockade against our people in the Gaza Strip. They are unfortunately backed by the might of the United States, which has undertaken a number of decisions in breach of international law that have been rejected by the rest of the world and also by US Congress members and many organizations working for peace, including American Jewish organizations. 

The US Congress, in its decision number 326, opposed the policy announced by US Secretary of State Pompeo and of the US President on annexation and settlement activities and reaffirmed the two-State solution and the right of our people to self-determination. These are not solely our positions, but the positions of the US Congress.

I must also stress that we refuse to forgo political solutions for economic assistance, that invention they pursued in Bahrain, Warsaw, and elsewhere, saying they will give us 50 billion dollars, but where is the political solution? We refuse that. A political solution comes first. And if it is followed by economic assistance that is fine, but economic assistance is not the primary issue. We thank all countries that support us and without conditions to build our Palestinian institutions that will carry us towards our independent State with God’s will.

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen Members of the Council,

In these difficult times and before it is too late, I want to address President Trump to tell him the US plan cannot achieve peace and security by erasing international legitimacy. Who can erase international legitimacy? In this highest body, who can ignore this? The plan presented by President Trump does that and denies the legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people, and removes East Jerusalem from under Palestinian sovereignty, and will not lead to the implementation of the vision of two independent sovereign States, Israel and Palestine.

I therefore appeal to President Trump to show fairness and justice, to support the implementation of United Nations resolutions, to preserve the chance of achieving genuine peace between Palestinians and Israelis. There can be no imposed peace.

Let us achieve peace together, and we managed to do so without intervention in Oslo and without knowledge of any State, and whoever says I knew, I challenge them. We reached an interim agreement and were ready to honor it for five years until we concluded a final peace agreement, but they assassinated Rabin. Why did they assassinate Rabin? May he rest in peace.

From this chamber, I call on the Quartet, composed of the United States, the Russian Federation, the European Union and the United Nations, as well as the members of your august Council, to convene an international peace conference, with a view to implementing United Nations resolutions, first and foremost resolution 2334, as well as the vision of two States and the Arab Peace Initiative, that we insist on as part and parcel of the international legitimacy, and of resolution 1515, through the establishment of an international mechanism with the Quartet and any other countries to oversee negotiations between the parties. But in all honesty, we will not accept the United States as sole broker as we have tried this before.  

I call on the international community in its entirety to pressure Israel, the occupying Power, to end its occupation practices and policies that aim to annex Palestinian land. What right do you have to annex our land? You will destroy the chances of peace.

In this historic moment, I extend my hand for peace once again before it is too late, and I hope to find a real partner for peace in Israel, any person who believes in peace, so we can achieve genuine peace that will bear fruit for the present and future generations of Palestinians and Israelis and for the countries and people of the world.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Our Palestinian people can no longer withstand the Israeli occupation of our country, and the situation as a whole is explosive. To prevent that, we need to renew hope for our people. Do not deny hope to our people and the peoples of the region to live in freedom, independence and peace, and the hope that the free world will rise for its rights. Do not kill that hope for our people.

I want to show you a map of Palestine and the changes that have occurred on the ground since 1917, 1937, 1947, 1948 until 2020. What I see breaks my heart. Is this what we deserve? Is this what the Palestinian people deserve? Why were we there and now find ourselves in these islands? (shows maps)

On this occasion, I address the Israeli people to tell them that the pursuit of occupation, settlements, military control over another nation will not bring security or peace. We only have one choice, to be partners and neighbors, each in our independent sovereign State. Let us uphold together this just choice before it is too late.

I reiterate that our conflict is not with the followers of the Jewish faith. We are not against Jews. We Muslims are not against Jews. The Muslim that says I am against the Jews is an infidel. If one says he is against Jews or the Torah, he is an infidel, not a Muslim. We are not against Jews; we are against whoever oppresses us regardless of their religion. And, our struggle is not against Jews, but against those who occupy our land. We will therefore continue to pursue our struggle, during which we have endured great sacrifices with thousands of martyrs, prisoners, and wounded, in order to end this occupation and achieve our independent State. We reaffirm that our people will not kneel. We want our rights, and we salute all those who help us achieve them. We will not surrender to this occupation, however long it takes and no matter what sacrifices we have to endure.

And I conclude by saying once again: I am ready to resume negotiations, as I have always been, if there is an Israeli partner ready to negotiate, under the auspices of the Quartet, and based on the international terms of reference, and I am serious in what I say. I am ready to remain here in the house of international legitimacy to start these negotiations immediately.

Let me also state once again that we will not resort to violence or terrorism, despite the aggression against us. We are believers in peace and in fighting violence, and we are ready to cooperate with any country to fight terrorism. We are against terrorism and violence, by whomever, and we will resort to peaceful popular resistance.

Look at what is happening now in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, thousands have taken to the streets to say no to the deal. It is not my position alone, the entire Palestinian people say no to the deal.

Finally, I tell the world: be careful not to kill the hope of the Palestinian people. I came here to preserve hope, don’t take that hope away from us.

I thank you, Mr. President.

Statement by H.E. Mr. Mahmoud Abbas, President of the State of Palestine, Delivered before the United Nations General Assembly 74th Session on 26 September 2019

In the name of God, the most Merciful and Beneficent

Excellency, Mr. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, President of the United Nations General Assembly,

Excellency, Mr. Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations,

Ladies and Gentlemen, Heads and Members of Distinguished Delegations

Peace, Mercy and Blessings of God be upon you.

A week before the recent Israeli elections, Israel’s Prime Minister, Netanyahu, came out to arrogantly announce that should he prevail in the election, he would annex and apply Israeli sovereignty to the Jordan Valley, northern Dead Sea, and Israel’s colonial settlements despite the fact that all these areas are occupied Palestinian territory. We reject entirely and completely this illegal plan. Our response, if any Israeli Government is to proceed with this plan, all signed agreements with the government of the occupation and any obligations therein will be terminated, in line with the previous decisions we have taken in this regard. And, it is our right to defend our rights by all possible means, regardless of consequences, while remaining committed to international law and combating terrorism, and our hands will remain extended for peace.

In this regard, I thank all leaders, countries, and international organizations that condemned and rejected this declaration and Israel’s illegal settlement activities as a whole, which constitute serious violations of UN resolutions and grave breaches of international law.  Moreover, all have reaffirmed that the Palestine question remains a central question for the international community.

I ask you, ladies and gentlemen: what would you do if someone tried take the land of your country and tried to erase your presence in it? It is time for the international community to uphold its responsibilities to bring an end to this Israeli aggression and arrogance.

I had hoped to come to you this year to proclaim together the end of this occupation, the Israeli occupation of my homeland, Palestine. But, regrettably, I stand before you today bearing the same miseries and pain that has been endured for so long by my people, who, despite all that they have suffered of injustice, oppression and occupation – still hold on to the hope of achieving their freedom and independence, as all other nations of the world.

I ask you once again: hasn’t the time come for the emancipation of the Palestinian people and their freedom from this injustice, oppression and occupation?

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Your august Assembly granted the State of Palestine observer State status in the United Nations in 2012. We are grateful for this legal and moral stance, and we thank you for your principled position in support of our collective, just demands to end the Israeli occupation of the land of the State of Palestine and to actualize its full and complete independence on the 4 June 1967 borders, along with a just and lasting solution to the question of the Palestine refugees, whose plight has been tragically prolonged, in conformity with the relevant UN resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative, which affirmed the two-State solution: the State of Palestine and the State of Israel.

We also convey our deep appreciation to all countries and peoples that continue to provide support and solidarity to our people and our country, politically and economically, aimed at ending the occupation and building our national institutions, in addition to their continued support to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), pending a just and comprehensive solution to the plight our refugees in line with international law.

We are proud that the State of Palestine, despite the obstacles and policies imposed by the Israeli occupation and those behind it, has become a full member in, and a State party to, over 110 international instruments and organizations. It has received the recognition of 140 States from around the world, and is chairing the Group of 77 and China this year. It continues to competently assume its responsibilities at the regional and international levels, as a resilient and constructive member of the international family, and deserves to be a full member of the United Nations and all of its bodies and agencies.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We accepted international legitimacy and international law as the framework and judgement to resolve our cause, and we have strived for and continue to seek a just and comprehensive peace. But, the international law that we have accepted and held firm to and the peace that we strive for are now severely endangered as a result of the policies and practices of Israel in our occupied land and its reneging on signed agreements since the Oslo accords in 1993 to the present. The responsibility for defending and preserving international law and peace is incumbent upon you.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In East Jerusalem, the occupying Power is waging a reckless, racist war against everything Palestinian, from the confiscation and demolition of homes, to assaults on clergy, to the eviction of our citizens from their homes, to attempts to violate the sanctity of the holy Al-Aqsa Mosque and Church of the Holy Sepulchre, to the legislation of racist laws, to the denial of access by worshippers to the holy places.

I caution against these policies and reckless measures, which will lead to dangerous consequences with unfathomable implications. Who can accept the continuation of such daily aggressions against our people or accept the continuation of such grave violations of international law?   

We are confident that the international community will not accept Israel’s arbitrary decision to withhold our revenues, and to confiscate a part of it, which is deepening the suffering of our people and preventing us from fulfilling our financial obligations towards them and also exacerbate the economic crisis our country is enduring due to a lack of resources and the decision by some parties and countries to suspend their commitments towards us.

Yet, the Palestinian people will not surrender to the Israeli occupation regardless of the circumstances, and no matter the pain, and will remain steadfast on their land, resisting occupation by all available means, foremost peaceful popular resistance. This is our legitimate right and our national and moral obligation. Let everyone know that occupation cannot bring peace or security or stability for anyone.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

What is unfortunate and shocking is that the US administration – a permanent member of the Security Council that is responsible for the maintenance of international peace and security and uphold UN resolutions – is supporting the Israeli aggression against us, reneging on its international political, legal and moral obligations. The US administration has undertaken extremely aggressive and unlawful measures, declaring Jerusalem as the so-called “capital of Israel” and moving its embassy there, and in blatant provocation to the sensitivities of hundreds of millions of Muslims and Christians, for whom Jerusalem is a central part of their religious faith.

Jerusalem will remain the eternal capital of Palestine regardless of any such schemes or actions.

The US administration did not stop there, but also decided to close the representation of the Palestine Liberation Organization in Washington, and some its officials have claimed that the Israeli settlements on our occupied territory are “legitimate”. Moreover, it immorally and inhumanely terminated all of its contributions to UNRWA.

Then, it somehow speaks of the so-called “Deal of the century”, and peddles deceptive and illusive economic “solutions”, after it destroyed by its policies and measures all possibilities to achieve peace.

This US policy has emboldened the government of the Israeli occupation to renege all signed agreements with us and its commitments towards peace, depriving the peace process of any credibility, pushing large segments of the Palestinian people to lose hope in the possibility of long-awaited peace, and jeopardizing the two-State solution.

This has led many to seriously question: if the two-State solution has become impossible because of Israel’s policies, then why don’t we pursue a one-state solution where all citizens can be fairly treated and are equal in rights and duties?

Here, I must ask you: How can I answer these questions raised by the people? How can one fulfill reciprocal commitments that the other side is not abiding by? And despite all of this, I remain committed to the two-State solution.

From our side, we have never missed an opportunity to hold serious negotiations with the Israeli side. We have constructively engaged with all initiatives proposed and based on UN resolutions and international law. However, regrettably, we have not found an Israeli partner, and found instead obstacles and challenges imposed by the Israeli government that continues to refuse to come to the negotiating table.

Despite all this, ladies and gentlemen, I renew the call for the convening of an international peace conference in line with the initiative I presented before the Security Council in February 2018.  This peace conference should include permanent members of the Security Council, the members of the Quartet as well as relevant Arab and international stakeholders, to adopt a plan based on the international consensus, UN resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative, within a defined timeframe, to end the occupation, achieve the independence of our State and end the conflict. We cannot accept that the shepherding of peace be monopolized by one country.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

From the outset, we have believed in democracy as a foundation for the building of our State and society. We have enshrined this in our constitution and exercised this on the ground. We conducted general elections in 1996, 2005 and 2006, in addition to regular local elections.

However, this democratic process was paralyzed by the coup by Hamas in 2007, which is an unbearable situation. Therefore, I have decided, upon my return from this international gathering, to announce a date for the holding of general elections in Palestine – in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. I call on the UN and the relevant international organizations to monitor these elections, and I will attribute full responsibility to those who may attempt to prevent it from happening on the date determined.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We once again reaffirm our condemnation of terrorism in its all forms and sources. In this context, we strongly condemn the terror attacks against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and other Arab States, particularly the recent attacks against oil facilities in the Kingdom. We reaffirm our unwavering support to our brothers.

In conclusion, I salute all our Palestinian people in Palestine, in the refugee camps and diaspora and across the world and express our pride in them. I tell them: we are confident that this occupation, like all occupation that preceded it, will inevitably end; that the dawn of freedom and independence is coming; and that the oppression and aggression they have endured for so long will not last. A right is never lost as long as someone strives to claim it.

We salute our honorable martyrs, courageous prisoners and wounded heroes, and salute their resilient families who we will not give up on their rights. We salute to those remaining steadfast in our beloved homeland. The date of our freedom and the independence of State with its eternal capital Al-Quds is soon approaching.

I thank you, Mr. President, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen

Statement by H.E. Mahmoud Abbas, President of the State of Palestine, Delivered Before the United Nations Security Council on 20 February 2018

Excellency Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, President of the Security Council,

Excellency Mr. António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations,

Excellencies Members of the Security Council,

Seventy years have passed since Palestine’s Nakba, from which 6 million Palestine refugees continue to suffer from the cruelty of exile and loss of human security. They continue to wander the world after the loss of their peaceful and stable lives in their homeland. They are part of the 13 million Palestinians, whose country has not yet been recognized as full Member State of the United Nations, despite the numerous resolutions reaffirming their right to self-determination and statehood on their national land.

We are the descendants of the Canaanites that lived in the land of Palestine 5,000 years ago and continuously remained there to this day. Our great people remain rooted in their land. The Palestinian people built their own cities and homeland and made contributions to humanity and civilization witnessed by the world. They established institutions, schools, hospitals, cultural organizations, theaters, libraries, newspapers, publishing houses, economic organizations, businesses and banks, with wide regional and international influence.

All of this existed before and after the Balfour Declaration issued by the British Government in 1917, a declaration by which those who did not own, giving to those who had no right. The British Government bears responsibility for the catastrophic consequences inflicted on the Palestinian people as a result.

Since then, and although our people remain under occupation, they continued their journey in building and developing their country with the establishment of their National Authority in 1994. Our national institutions are recognized by international organizations for their merit and work, which is based on the rule of law, accountability and transparency, and empowerment of women and youth in an environment of tolerance, coexistence of civilizations and non-discrimination. Moreover, we continue to strive to unite our people and land and to ensure one authority, one law, and one gun, and are determined to convene parliamentary and presidential elections. [Read more…]

Statement of H.E. Mahmoud Abbas, President of the State of Palestine, regarding President Trump’s announcement on Jerusalem, 6 December 2017

RAMALLAH, December 6, 2017 (WAFA) – President Mahmoud Abbas said on Wednesday that with US President Donald Trump declaring that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, he has chosen to disregard all international resolutions and bilateral agreements, preferring to ignore and contradict the international consensus expressed by many countries and leaders of the world, its spiritual leaders and regional organizations over the past few days on the issue of Jerusalem.

He said in a speech in response to Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, “These measures are a reward to Israel’s violations of international resolutions and an encouragement for Israel to continue its policy of occupation, settlements, apartheid and ethnic cleansing.”

Abbas added, “These measures also serve extremist groups attempting to turn the conflict in our region into a religious war that is dragging the region, which is living critical situations in the midst of international conflicts and endless wars. This is what we have always warned of and we have rejected and fought.”

He said, “These measures, which are denounced and rejected, are a deliberate undermining of all efforts to achieve peace, and is a declaration of the withdrawal of the United States from playing the role which it has played over the past decades as a peace broker.” [Read more…]