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Abbas Says Palestinians Not Bound By Oslo Accords, But Gives No Expiration Date on Cooperation

In a speech at the United Nations today, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said that his government “cannot continue to be bound by these signed agreements with Israel.” However, Abbas gave no deadline on when, or even if, cooperation with Israel based on agreements such as the Oslo Accords would stop.

Threats to drop out of Oslo-based cooperation have been made before: In 2010, then-PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad similarly said that the PA “will not be a prisoner to the restrictions of Oslo.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded sharply to Abbas’ speech.

The Oslo Accords, which were signed in 1993, spelled out the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians based on a formula of land for peace. They have been the basis of the peace process since then. Abbas’ predecessor, Yasser Arafat, committed in the accords to “renounc[ing] the use of terrorism” and “peaceful resolution of the conflict between the two sides … through negotiations.” Though Israel has ceded land to the PA, Palestinians groups have continued to engage in terror against Israel, and Abbas has on multiple occasions expressed his intention to abandon the format of bilateral negotiations altogether.

Notably, in April of last year, Abbas abandoned American-sponsored direct talks with Israel, choosing instead to unilaterally seek membership in numerous United Nations bodies. Israeli peace negotiator Tzipi Livni told Abbas after he abandoned the peace talks and came to a unity agreement with the terrorist group Hamas that “the choice is not between everything and nothing. And your choice in the end was to get nothing.”

Abbas claimed today that the PA’s “acceptance to international conventions and treaties is not directed against anyone – it is aimed at guarding our rights and protecting our people with international standards and strengthening international standing.” But Abbas himself asserted that in a 2011 New York Times op-ed that the Palestinians sought to join United Nations institutions in order to bring about the “internationalization of the conflict as a legal matter,” writing that it would allow the Palestinians “to pursue claims against Israel at the United Nations, human rights treaty bodies and the International Court of Justice.” Abbas signed fifteen UN treaties in one day last year; the PA was immediately in flagrant violation of eleven of them.

[Photo: Mark Langfan / YouTube ]