Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday again warned that Palestinian leadership will renounce all signed agreements with Israel if any government extends Israeli sovereignty to the Jordan Valley and the Northern Dead Sea.
He said that he will call new general elections for Palestinians and invited the UN and international organizations to monitor the vote.
Abbas’s previous pledges to hold elections have failed to materialize due to the continued power struggle between his ruling Fatah faction in the West Bank and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
Referring to the ongoing dispute between the two groups, Abbas said: “I will attribute full responsibility to those who may attempt to prevent it from happening.”
Voicing opposition to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s preelection pledge to apply Israeli sovereignty to the two West Bank areas, Abbas said in a speech before the 74th session of the UN General Assembly in New York: “If any Israeli government carries that out, all the signed agreements [with Israel] will be terminated.”
Rejecting Netanyahu’s “illegal plan,” Abbas cautioned: “It is our right to defend our rights by all possible means, regardless of consequences, while remaining committed to international law and combating terrorism. Our hands will remain extended for peace.”
Abbas called on the international community to “uphold its responsibilities to bring an end to Israeli aggression and arrogance.”
He thanked the General Assembly for its 2012 decision to grant the Palestinians observer status in the UN and its “principled position in support of our collective, just demands to end the Israeli occupation of the land of the State of Palestine.” He also thanked the countries that continue to provide political and economic support to the Palestinians and the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).
“We accepted international legitimacy and international law as the framework and judgement to resolve our cause, and we have striven for a just and comprehensive peace,” Abbas told the General Assembly. “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 actions of Israel.”
Abbas accused Israel of “waging a reckless, racist war against everything Palestinian” in Jerusalem, including “confiscation and demolition of homes, assaults on clergy, eviction of Palestinians from their homes and violation of the al-Aqsa Mosque and Church of the Holy Sepulcher.”
Israel’s policies and measures in Jerusalem will lead to “dangerous consequences with unfathomable implications,” he warned.
The Palestinians, Abbas said, will not surrender “to the Israeli occupation regardless of the circumstances, and not matter the pain. Let everyone know that occupation cannot bring peace or security for anyone.”
In his speech, Abbas again lashed out at the US administration for supporting “Israeli aggression against Palestinians and reneging on its international political, legal and moral obligations.”
The US administration, Abbas charged, “has undertaken extremely aggressive and unlawful measures, declaring Jerusalem as the so-called capital of Israel and moving its embassy there.” Jerusalem, he added, “will remain the eternal capital of Palestine regardless of any schemes or actions.”
The PA president also condemned the US administration’s 2018 decision to halt US funding to UNRWA as “immoral and inhumane.”
He repeated his criticism and rejection of the US administration’s upcoming Middle East peace plan, also known as the “Deal of the Century,” accusing the White House of “peddling deceptive and illusive economic solutions after it destroyed by its policies and measures all possibilities to achieve peace.”
Abbas said that US policies have “emboldened the government of the Israeli occupation to renege all signed agreements and its commitments towards peace, pushing large segments of the Palestinian people to lose hope in the long-awaited peace, and jeopardizing the two-state solution.”
Abbas said that the Palestinians never missed an opportunity to hold serious negotiations with Israel. “We have not found an Israeli partner, and found obstacles and challenges imposed by the Israeli government that continues to refuse to come to the negotiating table,” he said.
Renewing his call for convening an international conference for peace in the Middle East, Abbas said that the proposed parley should “adopt a plan based on the international consensus, UN resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative, within a defined time frame, to end the occupation.”
Abbas made a similar call during his speech to the General Assembly last year, where he also strongly criticized Israel and the US administration.
The US, Abbas said, is no longer entitled to have a monopoly over the peace process. “We cannot accept that the shepherding of peace be monopolized by one country,” he said.