In front of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Thursday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas paid “tribute to our hero martyrs and prisoners of war,” the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported, rejecting criticism of the PA for paying financial rewards to Palestinian terrorists and their families.
Abbas had claimed earlier in his address that the PA rejects terrorism and seeks an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by non-violent means. “We resist this colonial, settler Israeli occupation by legitimate means decided by international resolutions. Only peaceful means. We never use violence,” he charged.
In his concluding remarks, however, Abbas acknowledged the PA’s culture of incitement, defending the “Pay-To-Slay” scheme, under which Palestinian terrorists and their families receive generous financial rewards for having murdered Israelis.
Last week, it emerged that the PA was planning to pay a monthly stipend to the Palestinian terrorist who stabbed to death Ari Fuld, an Israeli-American dual citizen, outside a West Bank shopping mall on September 16, 2018. United States Ambassador to Israel David Friedman reiterated that “This practice is unconscionable and must stop if there is to be any hope for peace.”
In his speech at the UN, Abbas went on to praise the Hamas-orchestrated violent riots, The March of Return, along the Israeli-Gaza border and cited them as an example for “peaceful, popular resistance.” The rioters carried guns, knives, stones, explosives, Molotov cocktails, burned thousands of tires and sent kites over Israeli territory with burning objects, causing extensive damage. Hamas operatives tried to use the riots as a cover to breach the border fence and carry out terrorist attacks in Israel.
In addition, Abbas denied claims that the PA was boycotting peace negotiations. “I…have never rejected negotiations on any day…we continue to extend our hands for peace. We only believe in peace. Peace is the only path. We don’t believe in terrorism and violence,” he claimed.
The Palestinian leader, however, rejected the U.S. as a mediator of Israeli-Palestinian peace, dismissing them as “too biased towards Israel” and accused them of an “assault on international law.” The Palestinian leadership has boycotted for weeks a U.S.-led peace initiative and refuses to engage with the White House’s Middle East team.
The last effort at peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians collapsed in 2014 when Abbas refused to accept an American proposal.
“Jerusalem is not for sale,” Abbas vowed. He added that for any final peace deal to succeed, all of East Jerusalem must come under Palestinian control, including the Old City with all its holy places.
Without evidence, Abbas charged that Israel was trying to change the status on Temple Mount. Israel’s Supreme Court “plans to pass a decision dividing Al Aqsa by time and space…Every day that court passes decisions as if we don’t exist,” he stated. In the past, similar unfounded claims made by Abbas and other Palestinian leaders have led to outbreaks of violence.
U.S. and Israeli officials criticized Abbas’ speech, saying it was counterproductive for peace.
[Photo: United Nations / YouTube ]