New York, 22 September 2023 (TDI): Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, in his address to the UN General Assembly on 21 September, emphasized that achieving peace in the Middle East hinges on granting the Palestinian people their full legitimate and national rights.
He carried the cause of his people, who have been striving for freedom and independence while bearing the enduring tragedy of the Nakba, which occurred 75 years ago and continues to be exacerbated by the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.
Abbas pointed out that this occupation challenges international resolutions, violates principles of international law, and races against time to reshape the historical, geographical, and demographic realities on the ground, with the goal of perpetuating the occupation and entrenching apartheid.
He decried ongoing attacks by the Israeli “racist right-wing” government, including kidnappings, home demolitions, resource theft, and the refusal to release the bodies of martyrs.
Additionally, he emphasized that Israel persists in violating the status of Jerusalem and the historical and legal significance of holy sites.
Highlighting the dangers of transforming the political conflict into a religious one, Abbas urged the international community to hold an international peace conference involving all relevant parties.
He stressed that this conference might represent the last opportunity to salvage the two-state solution and prevent further deterioration of the situation.
Abbas also called on the UN and the Secretary-General to take action in implementing resolutions that provide protection for Palestinians and support their access to international courts.
He urged states that have not yet recognized the State of Palestine to do so and advocated for Palestine’s full membership in the United Nations.
Furthermore, Abbas proposed designating May 15 as an international day to commemorate the Nakba, in memory of the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who were killed, forcibly displaced, and saw their homes destroyed.
He called upon the international community to take responsibility and courageously implement resolutions recognizing Palestinian rights.
In conclusion, Abbas conveyed a resolute message to the Israelis, asserting that the oppressive occupation imposed on the Palestinian people would ultimately come to an end and it is the occupiers who should contemplate leaving, not the indigenous inhabitants who have lived on their land for generations.