Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas indicated that he considered all of Israel to be occupied Palestinian territory while speaking before the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva last week, Palestinian Media Watch reported on Monday.
In his statement, which is found in the video embedded below, Abbas asked the council, “Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, haven’t you wondered: For how long will this protracted Israeli occupation of our land last? After 67 years [i.e., Israel’s creation], how long? Do you think it can last, and that it benefits the Palestinian people?”
Abbas later added, “[The] holy sites which have been desecrated every other second again and again for seven decades now, under an occupation that does not quit killing, torturing, looting and imprisoning…”
Abbas’ reference to 67 years or seven decades indicates that he was speaking about the time of Israel’s founding in 1948, rather than the Six Day War in 1967, when Israel assumed control of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
PMW observed that while it’s common for official Palestinian media and schools to claim that all of Israel is occupied, “it is rare that Abbas himself says this in an international forum.” The watchdog group also noted that the PA was careful not to reprint Abbas’ characterization of Israel as an occupied Palestinian territory in any official transcript.
It should be noted that Abbas’ first statement that he views Israel as an “occupation” since its creation “67 years” ago – did not appear in the transcript of his speech that the official PA news agency WAFA publicized in both English and Arabic. WAFA publicized Abbas’ rejection of the “occupation,” but the next sentence specifying “67 years… Do you think it can last?” did not appear in WAFA’s transcript.
Abbas has recently come under heavy criticism for inciting violence against Israel. In September, he called on Palestinians to protect Jerusalem’s holy sites from the “filthy feet” of Jews and blessed “every drop of blood” spilled for the city. Last month, he accused Israel of “executing” a teen terrorist who, along with his cousin, had stabbed and critically injured an Israeli teen, despite the fact that the terrorist was recovering in an Israeli hospital.
Abbas’ comments are often echoed by senior Palestinian officials. Last week, Mahmoud al-Habbash, Abbas’ advisor on Islamic affairs, referred to Israel as “Satan’s project.” In October, after a terrorist killed one Israeli and wounded 11 more at a Beersheba bus station, Jibril Rajoub, a senior Palestinian official who heads the Palestinian Football Association, called the attack an “act of heroism.”
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