Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas delivered his speech to the UN General Assembly today, expressing confidence that the Israeli people wanted to make peace with the Palestinians and urging the Netanyahu government to seize what he believes is the “last chance” for a just, permanent peace deal between them.
Abbas’ speech was his first since the General Assembly’s recognition of a State of Palestine, and marked the first address by anyone to the UN as the titular head of the “observer state.”
While he called attention to that fact and thanks the international community for the recognition, he insisted that his goal was the establishment of a state of Palestine to exist peacefully alongside Israel.
To that end, Abbas said he was unwilling to consider Israeli proposals for “interim” deals, saying that he didn’t want to go down that “vortex” of endless interim deals again, and wanted the negotiations to center on a permanent, real pact.
Israeli officials have often pushed the idea of an “interim” pact to establish an entirely borderless Palestinian state with no actual powers or territory, but the lack of timetables for moving beyond that has convinced many Palestinian negotiators that it amounts to little more than maintenance of the status quo with a new name.