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Tags: UN | Assembly | Palestinians | Abbas

Abbas Demands End to Israeli Occupation 'Now'

Friday, 26 September 2014 01:53 PM

Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas demanded on Friday an end to Israeli occupation, telling the United Nations that "the hour of independence for Palestine has arrived."

"There is an occupation that must end now. There is a people that must be freed immediately," Abbas said in an address to the UN General Assembly in New York.

"The hour of independence of the state of Palestine has arrived".

Abbas, however, did not set a deadline for fast-tracking to Palestinian statehood, after aides suggested they were eyeing 2017 as the year for Palestine to be born.

The Palestinian leader also vowed to seek war crimes prosecutions against Israel over the 50-day war in Gaza that killed 2,140 Palestinians, mostly civilians and left the enclave in ruins.

Describing Israeli attacks on Gaza as a "genocidal crime," Abbas vowed: "We will not forget and we will not forgive, and we will not allow war criminals to escape punishment."

The war in Gaza was "a series of absolute war crimes carried out before the eyes and ears of the entire world," he said, citing the unprecedented destruction left behind and the deaths of children.

More than 460 children were killed in the violence, according to UNICEF, including in the Israeli shelling of UN-run shelters that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has described as a violation of international humanitarian law.

The Palestinians have threatened to join the Hague-based International Criminal Court to allow legal action to be taken against Israel, but Abbas did not specify in his address whether he would resort to the ICC.

In 2012, the Palestinians won the status of observer state in the United Nations, which gives them the ability to become a party to the ICC, where they could sue Israeli officials over war crimes.

The United Nations agreed in July to open an investigation of alleged Israeli war crimes in Gaza, led by Canadian international law expert William Schabas.

Abbas spoke after rival Palestinian factions reached a unity deal that will pave the way for the return of the Palestinian Authority to Gaza and for a massive internationally-funded reconstruction effort to begin.



In his address to the 193-nation Assembly, Abbas asserted that years of negotiations had failed, accusing Israel of forging ahead with settlements and maintaining a blockade of Gaza despite formal pledges of peace.

"The future proposed by the Israeli government for the Palestinian people is at best isolated ghettos for Palestinians on fragmented lands," Abbas said.

"At worst it will be a most abhorrent form of apartheid," he warned, referring to the racist regime that ruled South Africa until free elections in 1994.

Abbas said a resolution backed by Arab countries would be presented to the UN Security Council to re-launch talks with a view to reaching a final settlement with Israel on the two-state solution.

It remained unlikely that such a resolution would garner support within the 15-member council, notably from the United States, which has repeatedly vetoed resolutions seen as undermining Israel.

The council has been trying for weeks to unite behind a draft resolution seeking to shore up a ceasefire accord in Gaza, riven by divisions over the terms for a sustainable peace.

Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization, earlier this month said the Palestinians would be seeking a three-year deadline for achieving statehood.

The war in Gaza ended on August 26 when the two sides agreed in Cairo on a ceasefire and to hold future talks on Palestinian demands to end an eight-year blockade of Gaza.



© AFP 2022

Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas demanded on Friday an end to Israeli occupation, telling the United Nations that the hour of independence for Palestine has arrived. There is an occupation that must end now. There is a people that must be freed immediately, Abbas said in...
UN, Assembly, Palestinians, Abbas
Friday, 26 September 2014 01:53 PM
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