(September 27, 2018 / JNS) Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas went on the offensive against U.S. President Donald Trump in his speech to the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday, harshly criticizing the American leader for his actions to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and aid cuts while at the same time praising Palestinian terror prisoners as “hero martyrs.”
“Jerusalem is not for sale, and the Palestinian people’s rights are not up for bargaining,” Abbas said as he opened his speech.
The Palestinian leader said that Trump has undercut the peace process by recognizing Jerusalem in December 2017.
“From the start of his tenure, from the same positive engagement, we welcomed his launching of the initiative of peace,” said Abbas. “We awaited his peace initiative with utmost patience. But we were shocked by his statements and actions that contradicted the aims of his administration in the peace process.”
The Palestinians have boycotted talks with the Trump administration over the last year as a result of the Jerusalem recognition. At the same time, Trump has retaliated on his own, cutting funding to UNRWA, the U.N. agency that handles Palestinian refugees, as well as direct funding to the P.A. and shuttering the Palestine Liberation Organization’s mission in Washington, D.C.
“It’s really ironic that the American administration still talks about what they call the ‘Deal of the Century.’ But what is left for this administration to give to the Palestinian people?” Abbas asked. “When they remove from the table Jerusalem, Palestinian refugees and security, what is left?”
The Palestinian leader also took aim at Israel, calling the recently passed nation-state law “racist,” and saying it will create an “apartheid state” that will diminish hopes for a two-state solution. He also declared that Palestinians “never use violence,” in contrast to Israeli settlers.
“We are resisting the Israeli occupation by legitimate means decided by international resolutions. Only peaceful means. We never use violence,” he said. “By contrast, settlers use arms against our people. We will continue to reject violence and use of weapons.”
Abbas also praised Palestinian terrorist prisoners in Israeli jails as “our hero martyrs and prisoners of war.”
The United States and Israel have both passed legislation this year that deducts monies to the P.A. for its support of terrorists and their families.
After Abbas’s speech at the General Assembly, Israel’s ambassador to the U.N. Danny Danon said: “Abu Mazen [Abbas] knows only one word ‘no’- not ‘direct negotiations’, not ‘Israel’, not the ‘Americans.’ On one hand he brings imaginary initiatives to the U.N., and with the other he pays millions of dollars to terrorists. Abu Mazen must understand that if there will be negotiations, it can only be directly with Israel, and not through speeches at the U.N.”