Abbas to UN: Israel is Entrenching a System of Apartheid in the Region

Mahmoud Abbas. (Photo: UN, file)

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas spoke at the 72nd United Nations General Assembly meeting on Wednesday night in New York, and stated that Israel’s half-century occupation would come to end through an independent Palestinian state or “equal rights for all inhabitants of the land of historic Palestine” — referring to a one-state solution, which has gained support over the years among Palestinians and activists.

Abbas’ speech at the General Assembly slammed Israel’s half-century occupation of the Palestinian territory and the international community’s complicity in Israel’s “settler colonial process.”

Abbas said that Israel was “playing with fire” by attempting to change the historical integrity of religious sites in occupied East Jerusalem, particularly Al-Aqsa Mosque, where Israeli security restrictions fueled a two-week mass civil disobedience campaign among Palestinians in Jerusalem. Abbas hailed these protests for their peaceful organization.

He warned Israel not to transform their “political conflict” into a religious one by increasing tensions in East Jerusalem.


Abbas said that the Palestinians had “exerted all efforts to make peace with our Israeli neighbors,” but Israel has consistently rejected all initiatives. “Israel’s rejection of the two-state solution puts the entire region in jeopardy,” Abbas added.

The status quo in Palestine has “continued to deteriorate because of Israel’s continual violation of law,” Abbas said, adding that Palestine was running out of space to form an independent state owing to Israel’s relentless settlement building on Palestinian territory, considered illegal under international law.

While Abbas reiterated the need for a two-state solution, he noted that Israel’s rejection of the two-state solution risked “entrenching a system of apartheid” in Israel and the occupied territory.

“Freedom is coming. It is inevitable,” Abbas declared. “The occupation shall come to an end. It will be either through the independence of the state of Palestine or, if they wish, equal rights for all inhabitants of the land of historic Palestine, from the river to the sea.”

Addressing the besieged Gaza Strip, Abbas said that “there will be no state in Gaza. And there will be no Palestinian state without Gaza,” before expressing his “relief” regarding reconciliation efforts with Hamas in Cairo, when on Sunday Hamas pledged to dissolve its administrative committee, which runs Gaza independently of the West Bank.

(Maan, PC, Social Media)

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