Sep 23, 2022 - World

Palestinian President Abbas: Israel "destroying" two-state solution

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks at the UN General Assembly.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks at the UN General Assembly. Photo: Bryan R. Smith/AFP via Getty Images

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the UN on Friday welcomed Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid's support for a two-state solution as a "positive development," but stressed the real test will be whether Israel commits to an immediate resumption of peace talks.

Driving the news: In his UN General Assembly speech on Thursday, Lapid backed the two-state solution with security arrangements for Israel, but an Israeli official told reporters that the Israeli prime minister doesn't see peace talks resuming in the near future.

  • "An agreement with the Palestinians, based on two states for two peoples, is the right thing for Israel's security, for Israel's economy and for the future of our children," Lapid said.
  • After Lapid’s speech, President Biden tweeted: “I welcome Lapid's courageous statement at the UN General Assembly…I couldn't agree more."
  • A day earlier, Biden said at the UN General Assembly that “a negotiated two-state solution remains the best way to ensure Israel’s security and prosperity for the future and give the Palestinians the state — to which they are entitled."

What they're saying: “I heard President Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid who said they support the two-state solution. We are thankful for that," Abbas said at the General Assembly. "But the real test for the seriousness of this position is if the Israeli government goes back to the negotiations table immediately."

  • Earlier in the speech, Abbas criticized Israel and said it is destroying the two-state solution. “We have no partner in Israel we can talk to," he said.
  • The Palestinian president assailed the Biden administration and the British government for giving unconditional support to Israel and allowing it “to continue its hostile policy towards the Palestinians."
  • “Israel would not have been able to do what it is doing without this protection [by the U.S.]. If people do not want to say this because it is not politically correct – I will say this," he added.

The big picture: The Biden administration was concerned Abbas would use his speech to launch a bid at the Security Council for full UN membership, but the Palestinian president said that because of the threat of a veto by the U.S. and the U.K., the Palestinians will try to pursue a resolution at the UN General Assembly.

  • General Assembly resolutions are non-binding, but no country can veto them. Abbas stressed that he is “asking and begging” for the UN to immediately give full membership to Palestine.
  • Abbas also said the Palestinians will apply for full membership in three UN specialized agencies, including the World Health Organization, and called on European countries who support the two-state solution to recognize Palestine as a state.
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