update deskIsrael-Palestinian Conflict

Abbas attacks Israel throughout speech at UN General Assembly

"On a bright note, at least he didn't engage in Holocaust denial—again," said Arsen Ostrovsky, CEO of the The International Legal Forum.

Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas speaks at the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 21, 2023. Credit: UNGA/screenshot.
Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas speaks at the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 21, 2023. Credit: UNGA/screenshot.

Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas attacked Israel and sought to rewrite its history during his remarks on Sept. 21 at the U.N. General Assembly in New York City.

“The Israeli racist right-wing government continues its attacks on our people, and through its army and its racist terrorist settlers continues to intimidate and kill our people, destroy homes and property, steal our money and resources, and detain the bodies of the martyrs,” he said.

Abbas further claimed that Israeli ministers have “even been bragging about their apartheid policies on our people under occupation.”

“The Palestinian people are remaining on their land, which they have
inhabited for thousands of years, generation after generation,” he said. “They cannot leave their land, and if anyone must leave it must be the occupiers and usurpers.”

Abbas cited a U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization vote earlier this week that proclaimed the Tell es-Sultan ancient ruins near Jericho a “World Heritage Site in Palestine.” Prehistoric ruins on the site that UNESCO recognizes date to the ninth millennium BCE.

The Palestinian Authority leader also accused Israel of destabilizing the region by “feverishly” digging tunnels under the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. He claimed that the Al-Aqsa mosque and “Al-Buraq” wall (the Western Wall or Kotel) are “exclusive places of worship for Muslims alone.”

Abbas also condemned the United States and Great Britain for the Balfour Declaration, and called for the United Nations to criminalize denial of the nakba, using the Arabic word for “catastrophe” that Palestinians associated with the establishment of modern-day Israel.

“Mahmoud Abbas’ speech at the UNGA now was another inflammatory display in abhorrent antisemitism, unhinged lies and glorification of terror, underscoring his utter irrelevance,” wrote Arsen Ostrovsky, CEO of the International Legal Forum. “On a bright note, at least he didn’t engage in Holocaust denial—again.”

David May, a senior research analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, noted Abbas’ claim that al-Buraq plaza, at the Kotel, is exclusively for Muslim prayer. “Israel created the plaza following the Six-Day War,” May wrote.

“Abbas fear-mongers claim that Al-Aqsa is in danger from supposed Israeli digging underneath it. These claims have been proven to be bogus, but they rile up Muslims nevertheless,” May added. “Abbas claims that the Palestinians have existed for thousands of years, as confirmed by the UNESCO resolution recognizing a site in Jericho as Palestinian. Since Jericho is 9,000 years old, this would imply 9,000 years of Palestinian history. This is how UNESCO distorts history.”

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