Israeli leaders slam Abbas speech at the PLO, say he is 'at the end of his road'
ABBAS MOMANI (AFP)
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin slammed Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas after a harshly worded speech he gave at the “Palestine Liberation Organization” meeting in Ramallah on Sunday.
“What we heard yesterday from Mahmoud Abbas, was terrible. He returned back to the ideas he expressed decades ago, when they were no less terrible", Rivlin wrote on Twitter.
“He forgot many things, and said exactly the things that led him to be accused years ago of anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial,” he concluded.
The Israeli President was referring to Abbas’ early academic work where he belittled the Holocaust, arguing the Jews killed in it were much less than six million.
Abbas also researched an alleged cooperation between Nazi authorities in Germany and Zionists interested in boosting Jewish immigration from Germany into Palestine before the Holocaust was in full swing.
Commenting on Abbas' speech in a Facebook post from India, Netanyahu said it "revealed the truth about the conflict, that the root of the conflict between us and the Palestinians is their constant refusal to recognize the Jewish state on any borders".
Also Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennet condemned the speech, speaking on Israel’s “Gal Galaz”, or “Army Radio”.
“Abu Mazen is at the end of his road, toward the end of his rule and the end of his life,” said Bennet, adding that “There appears to be no Palestinian partner for peace negotiations and it is unlikely there will be one.”
Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Abbas "has lost his senses”. “This speech signals that he’s lost self-control, lost the support of the moderate Arab world and has clearly given up on negotiations,” he claimed in an interview.
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas denounced US President Donald Trump's Middle East peace efforts as the "slap of the century", declaring that Israel had “ended” the Oslo accords delivering a speech at the PLO Committee meeting on Sunday.
"Today is the day that the Oslo Accords end. Israel killed them,” he said referring to the 1990's landmark agreements that led to the creation of the Palestinian Authority and envisioned a final resolution to the conflict. "I am saying that Oslo, there is no Oslo.”
“The deal of the century is the slap of the century and we will not accept it," he added pointing to Trump's pledge to reach the "ultimate deal" -- Israeli-Palestinian peace. “We said ‘no’ to Trump, ‘we we will not accept your project.’
”The meeting occurred against the the backdrop of President Trump’s widely-contested December 6 decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital which has sparked a barrage of criticism around the work, diplomatic backlash and a bout of ‘day of rage’ protests that, although have diminished, continue to affect the region.
“Jerusalem was removed from the table by a tweet from Mr Trump,” Abbas said, “this is why we’re here...there is nothing more important than Jerusalem to gather together to discuss, to study what the Americans have given us.”
Since Trump assumed office, US-Palestinian relations have undergone increasing strain whilst Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s rapport with the president has flourished due to an increasing policy convergence.
Most recently, US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley has threatened to cut funding to the UN’s Palestinian refugee relief agency (UNRWA) if the Palestinians fail to return to the negotiating table. “The Palestinians now have to show their will,” Haley said.
In conference speech on Sunday, Abbas responded, “Trump threatens to cut funding to the authority because negotiations have failed. When the hell did negotiations start?!” Adding, “When did we refuse to negotiate?
Since you're president we met 4 times, and we talked about 4-5 more times on the phone, and I told you I'm ready to do the negotiations.”The US’s long standing role as impartial mediator has come into question under the Trump administration and especially in the light of Jerusalem, Abbas has expressed his contempt for any future US-led peace effort.
“Any future negotiations will take place only within the context of the international community, by an international committee created in the framework of an international conference. Allow me to be clear: We will not accept American leadership of a political process involving negotiations,” Abbas said on Sunday.
The Israeli government however, sees the US as assuming a continued role in the process, a point of further contention.The Palestinian president also conveyed his disregard for other leading figures in the Trump administration, referring to US ambassador David Friedman as a “settler” and “an offensive human-being” and about Nikki Haley said “she threatens to hit people who hurt Israel with the heel of her shoe.”
Friedman last week criticized the Palestinian Authority in a tweet following the shooting of Rabbi Raziel Shevach, stating that the “PA laws will provide them [assailants] with financial rewards. Look no further to why there is no peace.”
In an attempt to diminish Israel’s claims to the land, Abbas said that “Israel is a colonial project that has nothing to do with the Jews.” Adding that the “Europeans wanted to bring the Jews here to preserve their interests in the region.” He then turned to the United Kingdom and in reference to the Balfour Declaration, reiterated his plea for an apology.
Amid an attempted reconciliation push between Fatah and Hamas, Abbas pointed to the fact that it "bothered" him that "our brothers decided last minute they did not want to attend."According to Haaretz, Hamas spokesman Fauzi Barhum criticized the decision to convene the gathering in Ramallah, saying that it should have been held in a different country to ensure the participation of senior representatives from all the factions.
“We are here, we are staying, we won't make the same mistakes of the past, we will not commit the mistakes of 1948, nor the mistakes of 1967. We are staying here, occupation, settlements, we are staying here, no matter what. We will not leave our country. This is our country,” Abbas said.
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Evil people have no hope of peace in this world!