February 20, 2018 — New York
AJC strongly condemned Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s speech before the UN Security Council, in which he called for an ‘international conference” by the middle of this year to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In his remarks, Mr. Abbas called for recognition of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders “in line with international law and the relevant resolutions.” He also blamed Israel for allegedly shutting the door to a two-state peace agreement and slammed the U.S. for recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Kuwait, which serves this month as president the Security Council, had invited Abbas to address the UN body.
“Instead of traveling a short distance from Ramallah to Jerusalem to negotiate directly with Israel, Abbas chose yet again to come to UN headquarters in New York to ostensibly advance peace by internationalizing the conflict,” said AJC CEO David Harris. “Trying to sideline the U.S. from the peace process is futile and raises genuine questions about the Palestinian leader’s own commitment to peace. The U.S. has long been the one country critical for Arab-Israeli efforts.”
Indeed, after Abbas spoke U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley called on him to work with Washington toward a negotiated resolution of the conflict. “The choice is yours, Mister President,” said Haley to Abbas.
Harris noted that, in recognizing Jerusalem in December as Israel’s capital, the American administration had explicitly left open the possibility of also recognizing the city as the capital of a Palestinian state, within the context of a comprehensive peace agreement. AJC has long supported the search for an enduring two-state accord with the Palestinians.
Harris also dismissed as “off the wall” Abbas’s attempt to delegitimize Zionism by asserting that the Palestinians descend from “Canaanites who lived on the land of Palestine 5,000 years ago.” He added: “Is there no limit to his capacity to rewrite history, just as he did in his doctoral dissertation in Moscow on Holocaust inventions?”
And, Harris expressed amazement at Abbas’s claim that he is committed to non-violence. “The PA, in fact, pays its people a lifetime salary for committing terrorist attacks on Israelis,” said Harris. “To call that non-violence is straight out of George Orwell’s 1984.”