Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas addressed the UN General Assembly on Thursday, stating that those who think peace can prevail in the Middle East without the Palestinian people enjoying their full legitimate and national rights are mistaken.
He said he had come carrying the cause of his people, who are struggling for freedom and independence, and to remind the Assembly of the tragedy caused by the Nakba 75 years ago, the effects of which continue to be exacerbated by the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory.
“This occupation that challenges your resolutions, violates the principles of international law and international legitimacy, while it races against time to change the historical, geographical and demographic reality on the ground aimed at perpetuating the occupation and entrenching apartheid,” he said.
The Palestinian leader noted continuing attacks by the Israeli “racist right-wing” government, kidnapping people, destroying homes, stealing resources and refusing to release bodies of martyrs. It continues to violate the City of Jerusalem, and the historical and legal status of holy sites, Abbas maintained.
“The occupying power is also feverishly digging tunnels under and around Al-Aqsa Mosque, threatening its collapse, or the collapse of parts of it, which will lead to an explosion with untold consequences,” he said, adding: “We have repeatedly warned against transforming the political conflict into a religious conflict, for which Israel will bear full responsibility.”
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With the peace process deadlocked due to Israel’s policies, Mr. Abbas urged the General Assembly to hold an international peace conference, in which all countries concerned with achieving peace in the Middle East will participate.
The peace conference, he said, “may be the last opportunity to salvage the two-State solution and to prevent the situation from deteriorating more seriously.”
He called on the UN and the Secretary-General to act to implement the resolutions to provide protection for the Palestinian and to support their access to the international courts “because the current situation is intolerable and untenable”.
He challenged the States that have not yet recognized the State of Palestine to do so, and for the State of Palestine to be admitted as a full member in the United Nations.
“What is the danger posed by the State of Palestine obtaining full membership in the United Nations?” the Palestinian leader asked.
Furthermore, Abbas urged the General Assembly to designate 15 May each year as an international day to commemorate the anniversary of the Nakba, in memory of the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians killed, forcibly displaced and whose homes were destroyed.
He called on the international community to assume its responsibility “with full courage” and implement resolutions to recognize Palestinian rights.