Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday took to the U.N. to again reject the U.S. plan for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians, while also slamming the recent U.S.-brokered deals between Israel and two Gulf nations.
In a pre-recorded video message, Abbas complained that, “The Palestine Liberation Organization has not given a mandate to anyone to speak or negotiate on behalf of the Palestinian people.” He claimed that the only path to peace was an independent Palestine based on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.
“We will not kneel or surrender, and we will not deviate from our fundamental positions, and we shall overcome,” Abbas said, speaking behind a plaque that read “State of Palestine.”
In a move that could perhaps be seen as further isolating themselves from the Trump administration’s peace proposals, Abbas announced his own plan that called for an international peace conference to take place early next year.
Abbas then took on the historic Abraham Accords signed earlier this month in Washington D.C between the Israelis, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain — the first such peace agreement between Israel and an Arab country since Jordan and Israel signed an accord in 1994.
Those accords see the normalization of relations on a range of issues, including security, tourism and communications. They have been hailed as a turning point in the region.
President Trump, in a White House ceremony, described it as “the dawn of a new Middle East.”
But Abbas warned: “There will be no peace, no security, no stability and no coexistence in our region while this occupation continues.”
Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Gilad Erdan in a statement said that Abbas’ speech was no different from previous ones that continue to incite against the Jewish state.
“What was clearer than ever is that Abbas is desperate because he knows that his time to go has come,” he said. “He realizes that the peace agreements we have signed with the UAE and Bahrain shattered the Palestinian veto on separate peace agreements between the Arab world and Israel.
“All Abbas showed was continued Palestinian rejectionism,” he added.
Following the speech by Abbas, Anwar Gargash, the Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates briefed a group of reporters, telling them the signing of the deal with Israel was polarizing in the Arab world but that “we have not lost a single friend. and we have not gained a single foe.”
As for the Palestinians, Gargash said they expected the Palestinian reaction at the beginning saying, “there is a sort of sulking mood right now.” But he believed that in the longer-term the UAE would be able to help the Palestinians, “more and more.”
The foreign minister said the Palestinians were not helping by marginalizing themselves by “being outside of the room does not really help. You need to be inside the room, you need to fight your corner and you will have a lot of friends who will support you,” he said.
Asked by Fox News on what would happen if the Israelis decided to go forward with annexation he said he didn’t see such a scenario where the Israelis would back away, especially given that the U.S. brokered the deal and that would make it much tougher for the Israelis to rescind right now.
But he said he didn’t see the suspension of annexation as something being forever and told Fox News, “That’s why I think it’s essential for the Palestinians to come back to the negotiating table.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.