President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority said in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly Wednesday that he is no longer bound by the 1993 Oslo Accords between Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.
According to NPR, and demonstrating a new level of tension with Israel, the 80-year-old leader said: “As long as Israel refuses to commit to the agreements signed with us, which render us an authority without real powers, and as long as Israel refuses to cease settlement activities and to release of the fourth group of Palestinian prisoners in accordance with our agreements, they leave us no choice but to insist that we will not remain the only ones committed to the implementation of these agreements, while Israel continuously violates them. We therefore declare that we cannot continue to be bound by these agreements and that Israel must assume all of its responsibilities as an occupying Power.”
The Oslo Accords, negotiated in a series of secret meetings in London and Norway, and were first signed on September 13, 1993, are a series of peace agreements between Israel and the Palestinians. They have served as the foundation of cooperation between Israel and the Palestinians with the ultimate aim of facilitating a two-state solution.
Having threatened to drop a ‘bombshell’ in his speech, Abbas’ announcement was, the Associated Press reports, his “most serious warning yet to Israel that he might walk away from engagement with Israel and dissolve the Palestinian Authority.”
The New York Times added:
“Mr. Abbas delivered his speech against a backdrop of growing frustration among many Palestinians over the paralysis in peace negotiations with Israel, the most protracted conflict vexing the United Nations since its founding 70 years ago.”
As a result of peace talks going nowhere Abbas' own popularity within the Palestinian diaspora has suffered. The last round of negotiations collapsed in April 2014.
Shortly after Abbas delivered his speech, the Palestinian flag was raised for the first time in the rose garden at the United Nations headquarters in New York.
According to Al-Jazeera, Abbas dedicated the flag raising ceremony to “the martyrs, the prisoners and the wounded, and to those who gave their lives while trying to raise this flag.”
The move, which came after the UN General Assembly passed a motion earlier this month to raise the Palestinian and Vatican flags, was strongly criticized by Israel and opposed by the United States.
As reported by the BBC, Israel's permanent representative to the UN, Ron Prosor, said at the time that the decision was a "blatant attempt to hijack the UN".
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