Gave Israel one year to end its occupation of territories the Palestinians want for a future state.
In an unusually harsh speech, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday gave Israel one year to end its occupation of territories the Palestinians want for a future state. He threatened to withdraw recognition of Israel — a cornerstone of three decades of failed peace efforts — if it failed to do so, the Associated Press reported.
Abbas delivered the vague ultimatum in a long, prerecorded address to the U.N. General Assembly in which he accused Israel of “apartheid” and “ethnic cleansing,” explosive terms rarely employed by the 85-year-old leader, who has long been committed to a two-state solution.
“If the Israeli occupation authorities continue to entrench the reality of one apartheid state as is happening today, our Palestinian people and the entire world will not tolerate such a situation,” Abbas said. “Circumstances on the ground will inevitably impose equal and full political rights for all on the land of historical Palestine, within one state.”
A one-state solution, while popular with some Israeli and Palestinian activists, would mean the end of Israel as a Jewish-majority state. No major Israeli or Palestinian party supports such an outcome.
Abbas spoke against a backdrop showing the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, a flashpoint holy site sacred to Muslims and Jews, and a series of maps of the region showing Israel’s territorial expansion over several decades of war and conflict.
He said he was willing to negotiate final borders over the coming year but that if Israel did not ultimately end its occupation of territories seized in the 1967 war, then he would reconsider recognition of Israel.
“If this is not achieved, why maintain recognition of Israel based on the 1967 borders?” Abbas said. He also threatened to confront Israel at the International Court of Justice.
Israel’s ambassador to the U.N. said Abbas had “proved once again that he is no longer relevant.”
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