Abbas’ harsh speech at the UN is a new year’s gift for the Israeli right

Abbas ratcheted up his rhetoric against Israel after Islamic State and other jihadists stole his thunder and took center stage.

By Chemi Shalev, HAARETZ

Abbas addresses the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly, September 26, 2014, NYC.

Taken at face value, Mahmoud Abbas’ speech before the United Nations General Assembly on Friday might legitimately be labelled “historic.” Abbas more or less buried the “peace process” that the United States has been leading for the past two decades and charted a brand new diplomatic course for the Palestinians, one of confrontation rather than conciliation, in international forums instead of U.S.-mediated bilateral negotiations. The Israeli government and its right wing adherents may be huffing and puffing in public over Abbas’ change of direction, but privately they are filled with joy: Abbas just gave them an invaluable political gift, just in time for the Jewish new year.

Contrary to the positive speech that he delivered earlier this week to American students at New York’s Cooper Union College, Abbas’ target audience now wasn’t in New York or Washington but in Gaza and Ramallah. Abbas was not appealing to supporters of the peace process in Western public opinion, as he has in the past, but to the Palestinians’ “base” of core supporters in the Arab, Muslim and Third worlds, as well as Europe. He tried to shed his popular image as a Obama and Kerry’s poodle and to recast himself as bulldog who can be just as fierce as Ismail Haniyeh or Khaled Mashaal.

 

Abbas’ speech undoubtedly reflects pent-up Palestinian rage in the wake of the carnage in Gaza, as well as his own conviction that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu wasn’t, isn’t and will never be a partner for peace negotiations anyway.

But his address is also a product of his own frustration: the barbarians of Islamic State, as he described them at Cooper Union, have upstaged him and stolen his thunder.

Instead of taking to the world stage at the General Assembly as a main protagonist riding the waves of sympathy generated by Gaza, Abbas found himself relegated to the sidelines, clamoring for attention. He sought to refocus the world on the Palestinian issue by ratcheting up his rhetoric and threatening to quit the game altogether: at his age, he probably told himself, he hasn’t got much to lose.

Abbas quarreled with the assertion made by Obama 24 hours earlier, from the same podium, that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was not “the main source of problems in the area”. In order to deal with the likes of ISIL, as Abbas termed the jihadist Islamic State group, using the acronym favored by the administration, one has to bring an end to the occupation, which is a form of “state terrorism and a breeding ground for incitement, tension and hatred”, the Palestinian president said.

In practical terms, Abbas may not have gone as far as some of his Palestinian listeners would have liked: he did not specify a target date for an Israeli withdrawal from the territories, nor did he threaten to dismantle the Palestinian Authority altogether. But what he lacked in specific steps Abbas more than made up for with harsh and bellicose words, taken from the classic lexicon of habitual Israel-haters: racism and war crimes, apartheid and genocide. Like many an Israeli politician, Abbas preferred to play to the resentment and hatred of his audience at home rather than employ the kind of moderate tones that would have earned him accolades in the international arena.

Abbas said that, together with Arab nations, he would demand that the Security Council adopt a “specific timeframe” for the implementation of the main elements of the Arab Peace Initiative: withdrawal to the ’67 borders, East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine, return of refugees based on UN resolution 194. Kerry has already told Abbas that Washington would veto such a proposal, but Abbas knows that the administration would prefer not to isolate itself internationally in support of Israel, especially at a delicate time when it is relying on moderate Arab regimes in the fight against Islamic State. Perhaps he believes that he will be able to extract significant concessions from the Americans in exchange for softening or postponing his proposed moves.

Whether he’s right or wrong, Abbas has certainly made Netanyahu’s own life easier: the Palestinian leader’s speech gives Netanyahu plenty of fodder for an equally strident General Assembly rejoinder on Monday and allows him to comfortably skip the Palestinian chapter in his own meeting with Barack Obama on Wednesday.

Caught in the middle, as usual, are the dwindling ranks of Israeli moderates and other supporters of a negotiated two state solution: after Netanyahu nixed the idea of a withdrawal from the West Bank and declared the Arab Peace Initiative obsolete, along comes Abbas and drives what could turn out to be the final nail in what has come to be known as the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. The one-state alternative, if it can be called that, has never seemed closer.

September 27, 2014 | 16 Comments »

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16 Comments / 16 Comments

  1. Let ‘s be honest Chemi:” DECEPTIVE conciliation”. Their goal remains the same: destroying IL and the Jews. As long as the left does not understand and accept this ” Palestinian DOGMA”, it should not come back to power.

  2. @ ArnoldHarris:

    After almost 30 years of political indoctrination by the anti-zionist left in Israel, the people need to be taken back gradually. Any radical shit to the right can be equally shifted back to the left depending on circumstances. Israel is no longer ideological. People vote according to their perceptions of self interest and ten the national interest, unless missiles and rockets are falling on our collective heads. Then we unite. The Arabs will provide the ammunition, the government will lag behind the people but I hope at some point the tangents will intersect and that’s when we can fully assert ourselves based on a unified common interest and the government taking it’s cue will follow.

    One small step at a time and “Never let a good opportunity go to waste” 🙂

  3. Yamit,

    I agree with you that assumption of Israeli annexations being removed from any bargaining tables is a false premise unless and until a parliamentary majority enacts that a 2/3 or even a 3/4 majority shall be required for alienation or de-annexation of any lands under Israeli jurisdiction.

    But unless and until the electorate of the State of Israel empowers a government willing to take such a Jewish nationalist stand, anything and everything in your country could in theory if not in fact be bargained away at the behest of this or that gang of foreigners under guise of “peace making”. Or more properly, “peace in our time” as Neville Chamberlain unfortunately described his deal with Adolf Hitler to take control over the borderlands of Czechoslovakia i 1938.

    Arnold Harris
    Mount Horeb WI

  4. ArnoldHarris Said:

    Yamit, the value of outright annexation in context of Israeli bureaucracy is that no electable government will be in position to use offers to give back any such lands in either real or imagined negotiations. Yes, we must tell the world we will never recognize any non-Jewish sovereignty in the lands between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. But annexation tells the world that we mean what we say and that we say what we mean.

    False Premise!!! The Golan and parts of East Jerusalem have already been offered by various Israel governments and almost accepted.

    Past experience has shown that a real offer of peace will tump any legal annexation through bliz and massive government propoganda touting the benefits of any peace treaty with Syria and the Palis.

    The to block such a possibility Israel would need to enact an annexation law requiring at least a two thirds vote to overrule the Law and hope that if it materializes the 2/3 vote will be blocked.

  5. @ yamit82:

    Yamit, the value of outright annexation in context of Israeli bureaucracy is that no electable government will be in position to use offers to give back any such lands in either real or imagined negotiations. Yes, we must tell the world we will never recognize any non-Jewish sovereignty in the lands between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. But annexation tells the world that we mean what we say and that we say what we mean.

    As for inviting the Arabs to emigrate away from Eretz-Yisrael, I understand they already are doing just that. At least so for any Arabs who can dig up the reported $10,000 to get his or herself smuggled into Europe on one of the ships that regularly sail from one of the Egyptian ports for just that purpose. Ten billion dollars per year for the assorted bribes needed to get them out of the Middle East altogether would result in emigration of 100,000 per year. Also, expel the UNO from any and all lands over which Israel has military or police power. That gang in itself is largely responsible for the troubles with the Arab refugees over the past 66 years of Israel’s independence.

    But much of that is for long-term consideration. The immediate need is to break the power and authority of both Fatah in Shomron and Yehuda and Hamas in Gaza. And the way to accomplish that goal is for Israel to empower and only with the various tribes, clans and notable families among the Arab population. That worked well for the Turks, under whose rule few Anatolian Turks resided in what they considered the southwestern portion of the Syrian vilayet.

    Check out the extensive research of Professor Dror Ze’evi and Glenn E Robinson, both of whom have connections in the Israeli universities.

    Arnold Harris
    Mount Horeb WI

  6. @ ArnoldHarris:

    Arnold I didn’t mean conventional Hasbara. Start by changing incrementally the narrative to one of willingness to share the Land with no Sharing what we already possess and declaring it as ours.

    Whether we annex it formally or not.

    We declare we will never allow a sovereign state between the Jordan and the Med. We declare that we will allow autonomy confederated to Jordan or not but will control all borders and security except local gendarme lightly armed.

    We will put such an autonomy on notice that if there is violent resistance against Israel or Israelis we will deport if not killed any armed resistance to the state of Israel and here sovereignty and citizenry.

    The conventional hasbara comes into play once the hue and cry and threat begin to fall on us. This hasbara will tell it like it is. Not debate the issue but declare our position and follow through. We should suggest that those opposed to our position might open up their own borders and each accept a certain number of Palis. We should put the Western Bleeding hearts for Palis that any and all sanctions against Israel will be reciprocated by Israel cutting all Palis territories from the Israeli economy.

    The more they hurt us the more they hurt their Palis Pets.

    Our ports are open to any Palis who wants to leave one way.

    The biggest opposition will come from Leftist liberal Israelis and Jews in America.

    So I suggest we change the dynamic by changing the narrative which I believe can’t be done all at one time. To reverse 25 years of institutional appeasement and running from reality will take a national and united effort by Israel to stand strong against the inevitable blow back consequences and many off those will be very painful to us.

    Abbas is now handing us that golden opportunity to do as I suggest with minimized damage to Israel.

  7. @ yamit82:
    Yamit,

    The Jewish state and the Jewish nation really need no hasbarot of the sort that liberals and other fools crave.

    Israel has HaShem, the best and most reliable armed forces in the Middle East; probably some 200 nuclear and/or thermonuclear weapons with delivery systems to deliver them at the right address; possibly the most outstanding and fastest-growing scientific/indusrial base in the world; increasingly improving relationships with China and India, whose mostly non-Islamic and non-Christian populations account for some 37 percent of that of the entire world; and its own growing Jewish population on the soil of Israel that doubles ever 36 years.

    All that Israel really needs is nationalist and authentic Jewish national leadership that will have the will-power to annex and fully Judaize Area C, which already has a Jewish population of about 400,000. That very act will be enough to pop Fatah’s balloon, UNO or no UNO. That’s Step one. Step two is to do the same job on Hamas by re-occupying the central part of the Gaza Strip and rebuilding the 18 Gush Katif Jewish settlements.

    How will the Jewish state govern all those Arabs, the timorous will ask. The answer is that the Jewish state will not govern them at all. Instead recruit the 125 Palestinian Arab tribes, clans and notable families that have been so carefully researched, analyzed and identified by Glenn E Robinson of the Center for Contemporary Conflict. These family-related saffs, hamula, and a’yan were exactly those local leaderships the Ottoman Turks used to govern those lands before the British imperial conquest in 1917. Play the game according to Middle East rules, and they will compete with one another.

    And lest we forget, it is a violation of all that HaShem instructed to Moshe rabeinu, to leave in non-Jewish hands control of the site of the great temples of the Jewish nation in the very heart of Jerusalem. So rip up that agreement that gave power over that site to some obscure Trans-Jordanian wakf, or whomever the hell else took charge of what is rightfully ours.

    You get my point about all this?

    Arnold Harris
    Mount Horeb WI

  8. @ woolymammoth:
    In addition, the writer portrays “his audience”,
    the Israelis, as “… with resentment and hatred…” which requires appeasement of “many an Israeli politician…” as somehow equivalant to Abbas and his terrorist adherents, yes the ones who try to behead us at every opportunity. How repugnant and simply ridiculous. I hope this writer decides to live a while with Hamas or ISIS. Maybe his body will be returned for live terrorists, not.Keep him.

  9. I found this particular line especially offensive:

    …Like many an Israeli politician, Abbas preferred to play to the resentment and hatred of his audience at home rather than employ the kind of moderate tones that would have earned him accolades in the international arena…

    I guess according to Haaretz, Abbas lowered himself way down low to the likes of “like many an Israeli Politician…”

    To this writer may I express my opinion of his work and his character in my best Yiddish, “Ein Kach Of Zay”
    The fact that Obama has raised his misplaced concern that Israelis are “walking away” from the “peace process”, as if they have not given it an ample opportunity to kill and maim Israelis, proves the tss is in the morgue.

  10. yamit82 Said:

    Israel’s hasbara strategy must shift to one that is based on power, self-confidence, and an eagerness to vigorously condemn its defamers.

    I don’t see any one in Israel in love with this guy apart from Zehava Gal On and her taqiyyah condemnation of him reflects the fact the extreme Left in Israel has no realistic way to give him what he wants.

  11. yamit82 Said:

    Israel’s hasbara strategy must shift to one that is based on power, self-confidence, and an eagerness to vigorously condemn its defamers.

    Amen! Amen! And once more amen!
    And please, let’s try and find someone that does not sound tongue tied and every second word is “eh, eh, eh”
    come on!!!
    Israel can surely do better than that!!!!
    Another key word: non apologetic!!

  12. 8@ Bear Klein:
    That’s brilliant. Bennett is showing the way and yes, get rid of Lapid and Livni if they don’t go along with this plan. Abbas’s intransigence is plain for all to see.

    Israel must strike while the iron’s hot. The Gaza war was a missed opportunity on so many levels.

  13. Israel’s hasbara strategy must shift to one that is based on power, self-confidence, and an eagerness to vigorously condemn its defamers.

  14. Bennets plan to annex Area C and the endorsement of the Levy plan should be put before the Knesset to a vote. If Lapid does not agree bring in the ultra orthodox parties into the government and dump Lapid and Livni.

  15. This is the Israeli Left’s go to guy for over twenty years: Abu Bluff is more radical and obdurate than even Islamists like Haniyeh and Meshaal.

    Israel needs him as a friend like it needs an enemy. The PA is not a peace partner in any sense of the word.

  16. Abbas’ harsh speech at the UN is a new year’s gift for the Israeli right

    Please someone enlighten me.
    WHO is the Israeli right, again?
    And WHY do they need such ‘gifts’?