Abbas Repeats Accusation That Israel Is Waging 'Campaign Of Ethnic Cleansing'
Israel's government effectively rejects a "two-state solution" to its impasse with Palestinians and instead continues to wage a "campaign of ethnic cleansing" in the territories where his people live, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told delegates to the United Nations this afternoon.
Repeating language he used when he addressed the assembly a year ago, Abbas told delegates that the "campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Palestinian people" is focused on "the demolition of their homes and prevention of their construction; the revocation of residency rights; the denial of basic services, especially with regard to construction of school; the closure of institutions; and the impoverishment of Jerusalem's community via a siege of walls and checkpoints that are choking the city and preventing millions of Palestinians from freely accessing its mosques, churches, schools, hospitals and markets."
"I speak on behalf of an angry people," he said.
(2:20 p.m. ET. Israeli leader responds: "Netanyahu Calls For 'Red Line' On Iran; Rejects Palestinian's 'Libelous' Charges")
Abbas also said that "despite our feelings of disappointment and loss of hope, we continue to sincerely extend our hands to the Israeli people to make peace" and that "we are committed to non-violence and reject terrorism in all its forms, particularly state terrorism."
As for his people's status, Abbas — as expected — said "we have begun intensive consultations with various regional organizations and member states aimed at having the general assembly adopt a resolution considering the State of Palestine as a non-member state of the United Nations during this session."
In addition, though, Palestinians will continue to seek "full-member status," Abbas said.
The text of his prepared remarks is posted here.
This is day three of the U.N.'s annual opening session, at which a wide variety of world leaders have been addressing the delegates. In the next hour or so, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to deliver his remarks. We'll post highlights from his address.
A year ago, in response to Abbas' remarks, Netanyahu said the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the "refusal of Palestinians to recognize a Jewish state in any border."
Update at 2:20 p.m. ET. The Israeli leader's response is here: