Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ speech to the United Nations General Assembly included many positive elements, notably a strong commitment to negotiating an end to conflict based on a two-state solution in which a future Palestine would live alongside Israel.
Although J Street does not endorse everything Abbas said or the way in which he worded some of his statements, the general tone was positive and should be welcomed.
“The heart of the speech was an impassioned call to do everything so that the negotiations with Israel can succeed,” said J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami.
“This was the speech of a leader in the midst of negotiations. It would have been unrealistic to expect him to make concessions or break new ground in such an address,” he said.
“Still, President Abbas made some effort to reach out to Israelis with a positive vision of a future in which the conflict would end, Israel would win the recognition of the entire Muslim and Arab world and two states would live as good neighbors side by side,” Ben-Ami said.
Here are some key passages from the speech:
“I affirm before you that we have begun these negotiations and that we shall continue them in good faith and with open minds, strong determination and an insistence on success. I assure you that we shall respect all of our commitments and foster the most conducive atmosphere for the continuation of these negotiations in a serious, intensive manner and provide the guarantees for its success, aimed at reaching a peace accord within nine months…"
“Our objective is to achieve a permanent and comprehensive agreement and a peace treaty between the States of Palestine and Israel that resolves all outstanding issues and answers all questions, which allows us to officially declare an end of conflict and claims…"
“I am confident that the Israeli people want peace, and that its majority supports a two-State solution. We have always expressed our firm positions and have always explained them at the negotiations table with the Israeli Government and in the meetings and contacts we have intensified in the recent years with a wide spectrum of actors in Israeli society…"
“Our message stems from the idea that the two peoples, the Palestinian and the Israeli, are partners in the task of peacemaking…"
“Let us sow the seeds of good neighborliness. Let us envision another future that the children of Palestine and of Israel enjoy with peace and security, and where they can dream and realize their dreams, a future that allows Muslims, Christians and Jews to freely reach places of worship; and a future in which Israel will gain the recognition of 57 Arab and Muslim countries and where the States of Palestine and Israel will coexist in peace, in order to realize each people's hopes for progress and prosperity.”