Expert's Views on UN Security Council Speech by Palestinian President Abbas

“’Help us.’ President Abbas’s address to the UN Security Council can be summarized in these two words with which he concluded.

Expert's Views on UN Security Council Speech by Palestinian President Abbas

Mahmoud Abbas addressing the UN Security Council. February 20, 2018

Diana Buttu, Ramallah-based political analyst, former advisor to Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Palestinian negotiators:

“Abbas’s address was yet another iteration of speeches long ago, in which he once again implored the world to convene an international conference to address Palestinian rights. What he fails to recognize is that negotiations alone have never and will never lead to Palestinian freedom.

“What Abbas should instead be doing is signing onto the grassroots, global boycott, divestment and sanctions movement to apply pressure on Israel to respect Palestinian rights and harnessing the immense untapped power of the Palestinian people to engage on widespread popular resistance to Israel’s half-century-old military rule and other violations of their rights.

“Just as with apartheid South Africa, world leaders will follow the lead of their people to end the injustice in Palestine/Israel, not the other way around.”

Mouin Rabbani, Senior Fellow with the Institute for Palestine Studies, Policy Advisor to Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network, Contributing Editor with Middle East Report and Co-Editor of the ezine Jadaliyya. Former Senior Middle East Analyst with the International Crisis Group:

“In his address to the UN Security Council President Abbas made abundantly clear why the US government, particularly under the present administration, is not a qualified mediator between Israel and the Palestinians and that the only reasonable alternative is an international mechanism that seeks to implement, rather than elude or obstruct, the international consensus on the resolution of this conflict.

“At the same time Abbas failed to capitalise on this important opportunity to announce concrete measures that would help extricate the Palestinians from their current predicament and confront the combination of accelerated Israeli colonialism, uncritical American support, and international indifference.

“Absent such measures the outcome can be predicted to be more of the same.”

Zaha Hassan, Human rights attorney and Middle East Fellow at New America. During Palestine’s bid for UN membership and Quartet-sponsored talks between 2010 and 2012, Ms. Hassan was the coordinator and legal advisor to the Palestinian negotiating team:

“’Help us.’ President Abbas’s address to the UN Security Council can be summarized in these two words with which he concluded. The Palestinian leader was among the first inside the Palestinian movement to advocate for dialogue and negotiations with Israelis and yet after over two decades of official bilateral talks, he has come to the conclusion that they will not bear fruit without active international engagement and support.

“Will the international community do what he asked and (1) recognize Palestine for those states that haven’t, (2) create a multi-lateral international mechanism to end the occupation, and (3) hold an international conference by mid-2018 towards establishing a Palestinians state? It is unlikely Europe or the Arab states are in a position to fill the void left by the US when the Trump Administration relinquished any semblance of impartiality between Israelis and Palestinians by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

“The best Abbas can hope for is that the world will not break ranks and join the US in twisting international law and principles to Israel’s will, and that it will support efforts to differentiate between Israel and the Palestinian territory it has militarily occupied for 50 years. The help Abbas seeks will have to be led from Palestinians themselves, not from outside.”