Israel accused Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas of lying and questioned his ability to be a true partner for peace after Abbas blamed Israel for its “genocide” against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip in his United Nations General Assembly speech Friday.
Abbas accused Israel of committing "absolute war crimes carried out before the eyes and ears of the entire world" during this summer’s war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip, and called on the UN to pass a resolution setting a deadline for Israeli withdrawal to pre-1967 borders.
This summer’s “war came after long, difficult negotiations for more than eight months,” Abbas said. “We engaged in this endeavor with open minds, in good faith and with a positive spirit and engaged with the efforts of the American administration in the most constructive manner, and we put forth our firm positions based on the resolutions of international legitimacy, which receive the overwhelming support of the nations of the world,” he added, while Israel “did not miss the opportunity to undermine the chance for peace.”
However, senior officials in the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Abbas’s speech "was full of lies and incitement. This is not the way a man who wants peace speaks."
The use of the terms “genocide” and “war crimes” when speaking about Israel’s behavior with respect to the Palestinians has become all too common.
However, in 1948 the U.N. itself defined genocide as “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical [sic], racial or religious group, as such,” wrote Dr. Rafael Medoff, the director of The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, in July.
Meanwhile, Israel’s Operation Protective Edge was waged in response to more than 11,000 rockets launched at Israel by Hamas terrorists since 2005, despite Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip the same year.
Israel imposed a blockade on Gaza in response to the election of Hamas, a terrorist organization that has openly claimed responsibility for the rockets and is also responsible for many terrorist attacks inside Israel, to the Gaza government in 2007. Despite the restrictions, humanitarian supplies have been allowed into Gaza, including cement, much of which has been used by Hamas to build underground tunnels extending into Israeli territory that could be used for attacks against Israeli civilians.
As far back as in 2009, Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal admitted that “the hidden picture is that most of the money and effort is invested in the resistance and military preparations (rather than in rebuilding Gaza)," he said, the Meir Amit Intelligence and Information Center reported.
Even during this summer’s conflict, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) estimates it has sent 1,856 trucks carrying 40,550 tons of supplies, 37,178 tons of foods, 1,694 tons humanitarian goods, 1,029 tons of medicine and medical supplies into Gaza from July 8 to August 5.
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman responded in a statement to Abbas’s UN speech that Abbas "doesn't want to and cannot be a partner for a reasonable political settlement."
Abbas "complements Hamas by perpetrating political terror and making false accusations against Israel… As long as Abu Mazen (Abbas) chairs the Palestinian Authority he will perpetuate the conflict. Abu Mazen proves time and again that he isn't a man of peace, but is Arafat's successor in various ways," Lieberman said.
The U.S. also issued a statement criticizing Abbas’ speech. "President Abbas' speech today included offensive characterizations that were deeply disappointing and which we reject," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. "Such provocative statements are counterproductive and undermine efforts to create a positive atmosphere and restore trust between the parties."