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Abbas to UNGA: 'Jerusalem is not for sale'

Sept. 28, 2018 1:52 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 30, 2018 10:15 A.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- As the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas addressed the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly, he called on the United States administration to rescind its decision on Jerusalem and refugees, as well as on Israel to abide by the agreements it had signed with the Palestinians over the years, otherwise the Palestinians will not abide by them any longer.

Abbas strongly stressed at the start of his speech that "Jerusalem is not for sale and the Palestinian people's rights are not up for bargaining."

Abbas strongly criticized the Israeli Knesset's approval of the controversial Nationality Law, which he labeled as "racist," saying that "This law denies the connection of the Palestinian people to their historic homeland and dismisses their right to self-determination and their history and heritage, as well as the United Nations resolutions relevant to the Palestine question and the agreements concluded with Israel. This law will inevitably lead to the creation of one racist State, an apartheid state, and nullifies the two-State solution."

"This law discriminates against the Palestinian-Arab citizens in Israel, granting the right to self determination exclusively to Jews in Israel and legislating discrimination against those Arab citizens, who constitute 20% of the population of Israel, in addition to other non-Jews who have immigrated to Israel. This law strips them of their rights as citizens."

He added that "This law reminds us of the apartheid state that existed in South Africa. We therefore reject and condemn it in the strongest terms."

Abbas mentioned the recent decisions made by the US administration and the so-called "Deal of the Century" and said "We awaited his (Trump's) peace initiative with utmost patience, but were shocked by decisions and actions he undertook that completely contradict the role and commitment of the US towards the peace process."

He stated "This administration has reneged on all previous US commitments, and has undermined the two-State solution, and has revealed its false claims of concern about the humanitarian conditions of the Palestinian people. It is ironic that the American administration still talks about what they call the 'Deal of the Century.' But what is left for this administration to give to the Palestinian people? Humanitarian solutions?"

"Despite all of this, I renew my call to United States President Trump to rescind his decisions and decrees regarding Jerusalem, refugees and settlements, which contravene international law and UN resolutions, as well as the understandings among us, in order to salvage the prospects for peace and to achieve stability and security for the future generations in our region."

He said "We have concluded agreements with Israel and they have abrogated all of them. Either Israel abides by these agreements, or else we will renege on them. Israel will bear the responsibility and consequences of this."

He also stressed that he wants a Palestinian state established by peaceful means, "I must reiterate that we are not against negotiations and have never rejected negotiations, and that we continue to extend our hands for peace."

Abbas mentioned that the Palestinian National Council, the parliament of the State of Palestine also instructed him "to suspend the Palestinian recognition of Israel until Israel recognizes the State of Palestine on the 4 June 1967 borders, and also instructed me to approach the international courts, including the International Criminal Court (ICC), to investigate Israel’s breaches of treaties and the Israeli occupying forces' aggression and settler terror against our people, our land and our holy sites."

"I must remind you once again that Israel, the occupying Power, has not implemented any single resolution of the hundreds of resolutions adopted by the Security Council, most recent of which was resolution 2334 (2016), and by the General Assembly regarding the question of Palestine. Is it acceptable that Israel remains without accountability or consequence? Is it acceptable that Israel remains a state above the law? Why does the Security Council not uphold its duties to compel Israel to abide by international law and to bring an end to its occupation of the State of Palestine?"

Abbas emphasized "Peace in our region cannot be realized without 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. There is no peace otherwise. There is no peace with a state of temporary borders. There is no peace with an alleged state in Gaza."

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