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Israeli officials criticise Abbas’ speech at the UN General Assembly

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Abbas’ speech at the United Nations General Assembly proved he is not a real partner for peace, while Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said it was full of “lies”.

Speaking before the UN General Assembly on Friday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas accused the Israeli occupation of committing “absolute war crimes” and “genocide” against Palestinians.

Abbas said 2014 was meant to be a year of international solidarity with the Palestinians, but blamed the occupation for choosing to make it “a year of a new war of genocide perpetrated against the Palestinian people”.

He condemned the “unprecedented” destruction in the Gaza Strip following the 51-day Israeli war against the Palestinian enclave and charged that the Israeli occupation committed “absolute war crimes carried out before the eyes and ears of the entire world.”

The Palestinian Health Ministry reports that over 2,160 Gazans were killed during the war by the Israel and more than 11,000 others were wounded. More than a quarter of them, the UN said, were civilians. Israel said that 72 Israelis, including 67 soldiers were killed.

“This war came after long, difficult negotiations for more than eight months under the auspices of the United States and the efforts of President Barack Obama and tenacious efforts of his Secretary of State John Kerry,” Abbas said, referring to the nine-month long talks that ended in April without results.

Whereas the Palestinians “genuinely respected all of our commitments and understandings” and gave the negotiations a chance, Abbas charged that the Israeli occupation “did not miss the opportunity to undermine the chance for peace” and “once again failed the test of peace.”

Regarding future of talks with Israel, Abbas said: “It is impossible to return to the cycle of negotiations that failed to deal with the substance of the matter and the fundamental question –the establishment of a Palestinian state on 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.”

“There is neither credibility nor seriousness in negotiations in which the Israeli occupation predetermines the results via its settlement activities and the occupation’s brutality,” he said, adding that it was impossible to “repeat methods that have proven futile or to continue with approaches that have repeatedly failed.”

“‘Israel refuses to end its occupation of the State of Palestine since 1967, but rather seeks its continuation and entrenchment, and rejects the Palestinian state and refuses to find a just solution to the plight of the Palestine refugees,” Abbas said.

He added that Israel envisions “isolated ghettos for Palestinians” and repeatedly accused Israel of racist and apartheid policies and aspirations.

Immediately following Abbas’ speech, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said in a statement that the PA president demonstrated that “he doesn’t want and cannot be a partner for a logical, diplomatic resolution”.

“So long as he’s chairman of the Palestinian Authority he will continue the conflict. He is the continuation of [late Palestinian leader Yasser] Arafat through different means,” Lieberman said.

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