Standing next to U.S. President Joe Biden at their joint press conference last week, Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas unblinkingly called for an end to “74 years” of “occupation.” In other words, Abbas called for the end of Israel, which was established in 1948—74 years ago.

Official PA television reported on July 15 that Abbas said, “After 74 years of nakba [the “catastrophe,” as Palestinians call the establishment of Israel], expulsion and occupation, has the time not come for this occupation to end, for our people that is standing firm to achieve its freedom and independence and for the wishes of our young men and women … to be realized in a promising future without occupation?”

The White House website itself shows that Abbas made his intentions clear. “In this regard,” he said, “we say that the key to peace and security in our region begins with recognizing state of Palestine and enabling the Palestinian people to obtain their legitimate rights in accordance with international legitimacy resolutions, and ending all the permanent status issues, including the Palestinian refugees issue” (emphasis added).

“And the way to that begins with ending the Israeli occupation of our land, the land of state of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, on the 1967 borders,” Abbas added.

It must be said that Abbas’ speech was an unusual display of clarity and honesty.

On most occasions, when speaking before foreign audiences and leaders, Abbas sticks to the false message that the Palestinians only seek to create a Palestinian state comprised of Gaza, Judea-Samaria and eastern Jerusalem—living side-by-side with Israel in peace.

For example, when speaking recently to European Union Representative to the PA Sven Kuhn von Bergsdorff and other European ambassadors, Abbas spoke of “the vision of the two-state solution on the 1967 borders,” a “Palestine” on only 22% of “historic Palestine,” as opposed to demanding “45%” of that area, as allocated by the 1947 United Nations partition plan for an “Arab country.”

In contrast to the conciliatory messaging designed solely for foreign consumption, Palestinian Media Watch has consistently shown that the PA’s domestic messaging to the Palestinian people is clear and unequivocal: Israel has no right to exist; its presence is fleeting; and it will be replaced by the “State of Palestine.”

As Abbas openly declared, establishing the Palestinian state comprised of Judea-Samaria, Gaza and eastern Jerusalem is not the end game. It is only the beginning. The beginning of the path to achieving the real goal of destroying Israel and freeing all the so-called “Palestinian territory” that has been “occupied” for 74 years.

While many people often blame Israel’s actions for the absence of peace, in reality, from the Palestinian point of view, the absence of peace is due to Israel’s very existence. Until these attitudes change and the Palestinians accept not only Israel’s de facto existence, but its moral, historical, just and de jure right to exist, no peace will ever be achieved.

IDF Lt. Col. (res) Maurice Hirsch is Director of Legal Strategies and Nan Jacques Zilberdik is a Senior Analyst at Palestinian Media Watch.

This article was originally published by Palestinian Media Watch.

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