Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday launched a scathing attack on the Israeli government, accusing it of pursuing a "policy of war, occupation and settlement colonization" and rejecting the two-state solution.
Abbas declared that he has begun intensive consultations with various regional organizations and UN member states aimed at having the General Assembly adopt a resolution granting a Palestinian state the status of non-member.
Abbas\’s statements came during a fiery speech he delivered at the General Assembly\’s 67th session in New York.
"Israel is promising the Palestinian people a new catastrophe, a new Nakba," the PA president declared.
Abbas began his speech by referring to the "catastrophic danger of the racist Israeli settlement of our country, Palestine."
He claimed that during the past months, "attacks by terrorist militias of Israeli settlers have become a daily reality."
The Palestinians, he said, "are facing relentless waves of attacks against our people, our mosques, churches and monasteries, and our homes and schools; they are unleashing their venom against our trees, fields, crops and properties, and our people have become fixed targets for acts of killing and abuse with the complete collusion of the occupying forces and the Israeli government."
Abbas accused Israel of carrying out a policy of "ethnic cleansing" against Arab residents of Jerusalem by demolishing their homes and denying them basic services. He also accused Israel of preventing "millions of Palestinians from freely accessing Jerusalem mosques, churches, schools, hospitals and markets.
Abbas called on the international community to investigate the conditions of some 5,000 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails. "They are soldiers in their people\’s struggle for freedom, independence and peace," he said of the prisoners.
In his speech, Abbas complained that Israeli restrictions and security measures were aimed at weakening the PA, undermining its ability to carry out its functions and to implement its obligations.
Abbas said that the ongoing stalemate in the peace process has led to one conclusion – "that the Israeli government rejects the two-state solution."
He said that Israel\’s official positions "reveal to us small enclaves surrounded by large Israeli settlement blocs and walls, checkpoints and vast security zones and roads devoted to settlers."
Abbas said that "despite our real feelings of anger and disappointment," the Palestinians remain committed to peace and non-violence. He also affirmed his rejection of terrorism in all its forms, "particularly State terrorism."
Abbas said that the PA continues to believe in negotiations with Israel, adding that "there is still a chance – maybe the last – to save the two-state solution and to salvage peace."
Abbas said that his renewed statehood bid was not aimed at delegitimizing Israel, "but rather to assert that the state of Palestine must be realized."
Prior to his speech, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed opposition to Abbas’s actions seeking Palestinian recognition at the UN during their meeting Wednesday, according to a senior State Department official.
“We have made very clear that our goal is to resume direct talks and that the idea of going to the UN is not the road that takes us there,” said the official, who briefed reporters following the meeting between Clinton and Abbas in New York ahead of the PA president’s UN speech Thursday.