In a two-hour-plus speech in Ramallah on Sunday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas raised Israeli officials’ anger and concern enough to get personally attacked.
Abbas declared Israel as a “colonial project”, that “has nothing to do with Jews”, and announced the end of the Oslo accords, during the opening meeting of the 28th session of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) Central Council.
In a shocking response, Oded Revivi, a spokesman for the Yesha Council, which represents Jewish settlers in the West Bank, called for seeking alternative Palestinian leaders and peace plans, as pursuing current plans would only “make people like Abbas rich and famous,” New York Times reported.
Triggering Israeli officials’ anger, Abbas said, “when the state of Israel was established, its leaders could not fill the country with European Jews, and therefore, Israel’s first Prime Minister David bin-Gurion forced Arab Jews to immigrate to Israel.”
Six million Jews, according to Abbas, refused to leave for Israel, and preferred to face murder by the Nazis.
Abbas also announced the end of the Oslo agreements. “Israel killed them,” Abbas stated. “Now we are an authority without any authority, and an occupation without a cost,” he added.
“If the Oslo process was dead, as Abbas said, then the Palestinian authority and leadership would become irrelevant,” Revivi stated.
Oslo accords are a set of agreements that were signed in the U.S. and Egypt in 1993 and 1995 respectively. The Oslo peace process resulted in the recognition of the state of Israel, and the recognition of the PLO as a representative of the Palestinian people.
Israel could not take it easy. Israeli President Reuven Rivlin described Abbas’s remarks as “terrible”, in a meeting held Monday in the disputed city of Jerusalem, Israeli media reported.
Rivlin rephrased Abbas’s statement during which Abbas said that Israel is the result of a western conspiracy to settle Jews in Arab land and that the Jews have no connection with Israel. “He said exactly the things that led him to be accused of anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial years ago,” Rivlin stated.
“I heard what Abu Mazen said,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. Although being in an official visit to India, Netanyahu disapproved of Abbas’s remarks. He said that Abbas had revealed his truth and “had torn off the mask.”
Netanyahu explained that the major cause of conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians is the “Palestinian’s stubborn refusal to recognize the Jewish state in any borders.”
In a unilateral decision, on December 6, U.S. President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and announced the relocation of the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
This decision was condemned and rejected by all Arab and Islamic countries, as well as most western and Asian countries. However, Israel and the U.S. have taken subsequent decisions that boost the recognition.
On New Year’s Eve, the Likud Central Committee, the party’s top decision-making body, voted in favor of a non-binding resolution that aims to annex Israeli settlements built in the West Bank, extending Israeli sovereignty over the occupied West Bank.
On January 2, Israel’s 120-seat Knesset gave the final approval to the legislation dubbed “Unified Jerusalem Law”, the Nation reported.
The legislation states that any decision relating to Jerusalem including handing over any part of the city to a “foreign party” will require the consent of at least 80 Knesset members – even in the case of a peace agreement.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said in an interview with Fox News in January that the U.S. is already planning for the step of moving the embassy to Jerusalem. “The decision was made and we will move our embassy to Israel’s capital,” Pence stated.