In his address to the United Nations General Assembly Thursday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas denounced what he called “arrogance and aggression” by the Israeli government and urged the world body to push for a two-state solution to the decades-long conflict.
Abbas delivered his remarks in the morning session of the 74th General Debate at U.N. headquarters in New York City. In them, he warned of a potential “religious war” and vowed Palestinians will not surrender, “no matter the circumstances” and “no matter the pain.”
The PA leader questioned the U.N. delegation how it would react if another nation seized their land, evicted their people and built its own settlements.
“Has the time not come for the emancipation of the Palestinian people and their freedom from this injustice, oppression and occupation?” he asked.
Abbas condemned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for “arrogantly” planning to annex Palestinian areas in the Jordan Valley and northern Dead Sea.
“We reject entirely and completely this plan,” he said. “It is our right to defend our rights by all possible means regardless of consequences while remaining committed to international law and combating terrorism.”
Abbas pushed for full PA membership to the United Nations and asked for help with peace negotiations. He also blamed the United States for supporting Israeli aggression and making an “extremely aggressive” decision to relocate the U.S. Embassy in Israel to from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem — which he termed a “blatant provocation.”
Israel won approval to demolish Palestinian housing in East Jerusalem in July, prompting Abbas to end all signed agreements with Israel.
“We want a two-state solution based on international legitimacy,” said Abbas, adding that the PA is recognized by 140 nations.
Scheduled to speak at the Assembly’s afternoon session Thursday is Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opted to remain in Israel to try and form a coalition government after last week’s Knesset elections.