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Thursday, September 27, 2012
Text: Statement by Mahmoud Abbas to UN GA 27 September 2012

Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations
(Check against Delivery)

Statement by
H.E, Mr. Mahmoud Abbas
President of the State of Palestine
Chairman of the Executive Committee of
the Palestine Liberation Organization
President of the Palestinian National Authority
before United Nations General Assembly
Sixty-seventh Session
General Debate
New York
27 September 2012
115 East 65th Street New York, NY 10065 Tel. (212) 288-8500 Fax (212)

President of the United Nations General Assembly,
Mr. Secretary General,
Excellencies Heads of Delegations,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I wish to begin by extending congratulations to the President of the 67th
session of the United Nations General Assembly, H.E. Mr. Vuk Jeremie,
wishing him all success. I express appreciation as well to H.E. Mr. Nassir
Abdulaziz Al-Nasser for his leadership of the previous General Assembly
session, and also to the United Nations Secretary-General, H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-
moon, for his tireless efforts at the helm of this organization.

Also, from the outset, I wish to affirm our appreciation to all Member
States that, in their statements to this Assembly, have stressed the urgency
for progress towards the realization of a
just peace in our region that allows for the fulfillment by the Palestinian
people of their inalienable national rights.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Developments over the past year have confirmed what we have persistently
drawn attention to and warned of: the catastrophic danger of the racist
Israeli settlement of our country, Palestine.

During the past months, attacks by terrorist militias of Israeli sealers
have become a daily reality, with at least 535 attacks perpetrated since the
beginning of this year. We are facing
relentless waves of attacks against our people, our mosques, churches and
monasteries, and our homes and schools; they are unleashing their venom
against our trees, fields, crops and
properties, and our people have become fixed targets for acts of killing and
abuse with the complete collusion of the occupying forces and the Israeli

The escalation of settler attacks should not surprise anyone, for it is the
inherent byproduct of the continuation of occupation and a government policy
that deliberately fosters the
settlements and settlers and deems their satisfaction to be an absolute
priority. And, it is the inherent byproduct of the racist climate fueled by
a culture of incitement in the Israeli curriculum and extremist
declarations, which are rife with hatred and are rooted in a series of
discriminatory laws created and enacted over the years against the
Palestinian people, as well as by the security apparatus and courts, which
provide excuse after excuse for the settlers' crimes and for their
accelerated release should one of them happen to be arrested, and by
official and military commissions of inquiry, which fabricate justifications
for soldiers who have committed what are clearly considered to be war crimes
and perpetrated acts of murder, torture and abuse of peaceful civilians.

Over the past year, since the convening of the General Assembly's previous
session, Israel, the occupying Power, has persisted with its settlement
campaign, focusing on Jerusalem
and its environs. It is a campaign clearly and deliberately aimed at
altering the City's historic character and the glorious image of the Holy
City etched in the minds of humankind. It is a
campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Palestinian people via the
demolition of their homes and prevention of their construction; the
revocation of residency rights; the denial of basic
services, especially with regard to construction of school; the closure of
institutions; and the impoverishment of Jerusalem's community via a siege of
walls and checkpoints that are choking the City and preventing millions of
Palestinians from freely accessing its mosques, churches, schools, hospitals
and markets.

The occupying Power has also continued its construction and expansion of
settlements in different areas throughout the West Bank and continued its
suffocating blockade as well as raids and attacks against our people in the
Gaza Strip, who to this day continue to suffer from the disastrous impact of
the destructive war of aggression committed against them years ago. Nearly
five thousand Palestinians also remain captive as prisoners and detainees in
Israel's jails. We call on the international community to compel the
Government of Israel to respect the Geneva Conventions, to lift the blockade
of Gaza and to investigate the conditions of detention of Palestinian
prisoners and detainees, stressing the need for their release; they are
soldiers in their people's struggle for freedom, independence and peace.

At the same time, the occupying Power continues to tighten the siege and
impose severe restrictions on movement, preventing the Palestinian National
Authority (PNA) from
implementing vital infrastructure projects and providing services to its
citizens, who are also being prevented from cultivating their land and
deprived of water for irrigation. It is also
obstructing the establishment of agricultural, industrial, tourism and
housing projects by the private sector in vast areas of the Occupied
Palestinian Authority, which are classified as areas subject to the absolute
control of the occupation, which encompasses approximately 60% of the West
Bank. The occupying Power continues to deliberately demolish what the PNA is
building, projects funded by donor brethren and friends, and destroying PNA
projects involving the building of roads, simple homes for its citizens and
agricultural facilities. In fact, over the past 12 months, the Israeli
occupying forces demolished 510 Palestinian structures in these areas and
displaced 770 Palestinians from their homes. These illegal measures have
caused great damage to our economy and impeded our development programs and
private sector activity, compounding the socio-economic difficulties being
endured by our people under occupation, a fact confirmed by international

Israel's overall policy is ultimately leading to the weakening of the
Palestinian National Authority, undermining its ability to carry out its
functions and to implement its obligations,
which threatens to undermine its very existence and threatens its collapse.

All of this is taking place in the context of an Israeli political discourse
that does not hesitate to brandish aggressive, extremist positions, which in
many aspects and its practical
application on~the ground is inciting religious conflict. This is something
we firmly reject based on our principles and convictions and our
understanding what it means to fuel such fires in this very sensitive area
full of explosive flashpoints and how it can fuel the action of extremists
from various quarters, especially those trying to use tolerant, monotheistic
religions as an ideological justification for their terrorism.

Mr. President,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We, on our part, and as proof our seriousness and our sincere intention to
create an opening in this impasse, conducted exploratory talks with the
Israeli Government at the
beginning of this year upon the initiative of the Hashemite Kingdom of
Jordan. We have also encouraged the expressed desires of several countries
to contribute to efforts to break the cycle of deadlock and have also
ourselves undertaken initiatives to create favorable conditions for the
resumption of negotiations. Unfortunately, however, the result of all these
initiatives has been very negative.

Mr. President,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

There can only be one understanding of the Israeli Government's actions in
our homeland and of the positions it has presented to us regarding the
substance of a permanent status
agreement to end the conflict and achieve peace. That one understanding
leads to one conclusion: that the Israeli Government rejects the two-State

The two-State solution, i.e. the State of Palestine coexisting alongside the
State of Israel, represents the spirit and essence of the historic
compromise embodied in the Oslo Declaration of Principles, the agreement
signed 19 years ago between the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and
the Government of Israel under the auspices of the United States of America
on the White House Lawn, a compromise by which the Palestinian people
accepted to establish their State on only 22% of the territory of historic
Palestine for the sake of making peace.

The recent years have actually witnessed the systematic acceleration and
intensification of Israeli measures aimed at emptying the Oslo Accords of
their meaning, while simultaneously
building facts on the ground in the Occupied Palestinian Territory that are
making the implementation of the Accords extremely difficult if not
completely impossible.

Mr. President,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Israel aims to continue its occupation of East Jerusalem, to de facto annex
large areas of the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory and to
continue occupying a large portion of the
Territory under different pretexts. It refuses to engage in any serious
discussion of the issue of the Palestine refugees. It wants to continue its
occupation of Palestinian water basins and its control over the most fertile
agricultural areas in our land as well as over our air, skies and borders.

The final map and borders that can be drawn in accordance with Israel's
official positions reveal to us the following: small Palestinian enclaves
surrounded by large Israeli settlement blocs and walls, checkpoints and vast
security zones and roads devoted to the settlers. Thus, the enclaves would
remain subject to the full dominance of military, colonial occupation, only
packaged under new names, such as the unilateral plan for a so-called State
with provisional borders.

Mr. President,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Israel refuses to end the occupation and refuses to allow the Palestinian
people to attain their rights and freedom and rejects the independence of
the State of Palestine.

Israel is promising the Palestinian people a new catastrophe, a new Nakba.

Mr. President,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I speak on behalf of an angry people, a people that feels that, at the same
time that they continue with their calls for their right to freedom and
their adoption of a culture of peace and
adherence to the principles and rules of international law and resolutions
of international legitimacy, rewards continue to be illogically bestowed
upon Israel, whose Government pursues a policy of war, occupation and
settlement colonization. And Israel continues to be permitted to evade
accountability and punishment and some continue to obstruct the undertaking
of decisive positions regarding its violations of international law and
covenants. This, in fact, represents a license for the occupation to
continue its policy of dispossession and ethnic cleansing and encourages it
to entrench its system of apartheid against the Palestinian people.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Despite our real feelings of anger, we, in the name of the Palestine
Liberation Organization (PLO), the sole legitimate representative of the
Palestinian people, reaffirm, without hesitation, that we as committed to
peace and international legitimacy and its covenants and its resolutions as
we are adherent to our inalienable national rights and aspirations, and we
reaffirm that we are committed to non-violence and reject terrorism in all
its forms, particularly State terrorism.

Despite our feelings of disappointment and loss of hope, we continue to
sincerely extend our hands to the Israeli people to make peace. We realize
that ultimately the two peoples must
live and coexist, each in their respective State, in the Holy Land. Further,
we realize that progress towards making peace is through negotiations
between the PLO and Israel.

Despite all the complexities of the prevailing reality and all the
frustrations that abound, we say before the international community: there
is still a chance - maybe the last - to save the
two-State solution and to salvage peace.

However, this urgent task must be pursued via a new approach. Whoever rushes
to advise us to repeat an experience that has proven to be fruitless -
negotiations with the Israeli
Government without clear terms of reference - must understand that this will
result in reproduction of failure and again provide a cover for entrenchment
of the occupation and will finish off an already-dying peace process. And,
whoever who advises us to wait, must realize that the festering situation in
our country and our region has its own timing and can neither
withstand further procrastination and delay nor its placement at the bottom
of the global agenda.

The approach required for saving the chance for peace must first and
foremost be predicated on the understanding that racial settler colonization
must be condemned, punished and
boycotted in order for it to be completely halted. This approach also
requires reaffirmation of and adherence to the terms of reference and
foundations of the solution to the conflict, which have been endorsed by all
of you.

The core components of a just solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict
do not require effort to discover, but rather what is needed is the will to
implement them. And marathon
negotiations are not required to determine them, but rather what is needed
is the sincere intention reach peace. And those components are by no means a
mysterious puzzle or intractable riddle, but rather are the clearest and
most logical in the world. This includes the realization of the independence
of the State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, over the
entire territory occupied by Israel since 1967, and the realization of a
just, agreed solution to the Palestine refugee issue in accordance with
resolution 194 (III), as prescribed in the Arab Peace Initiative.

Indeed, the fundamental components of the solution to the conflict exist in
the documents and resolutions of the United Nations and in the resolutions
of regional organizations, starting from the League of Arab States, the
Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)
and the African Union (AU), as well as in the statements of the
European Union (EU) and the international Quartet.

The international community, embodied in the United Nations, is required now
more than ever to uphold its responsibilities. The Security Council is
called upon to urgently adopt a
resolution comprising the basis and foundations for a solution to the
Palestinian-Israeli conflict that would serve as a binding reference and
guide for all if the vision of two-States, Israel and Palestine, is to
survive and if peace is to prevail in the land of peace, the birthplace of
Jesus (peace be upon him), and ascension of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be
upon him), and the final resting place of Abraham (peace be upon him), the
land of the three monotheistic religions.

Mr. President,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

The independence and freedom of the State of Palestine is above all and
ultimately a sacred right of the Palestinian people and an entitlement that
must be realized for it has been long
overdue for too many decades.

At the same time, the Palestinian National Authority has affirmed, through
implementation of its State institution-building program, the ability to
create an advanced model for an effective, modern State through the
development of the performance of its institutions, public finance
management through the adoption of transparency, accountability and rules of
good governance. These achievements have been considered by the Ad Hoc
Liaison Committee (AHLC), the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund
to constitute an impressive undertaking and success story, one that was
again commended in the latest report just a few days ago, confirming full
Palestinian readiness for the transition to an independent State, while at
the same time stressing that the Israeli occupation remains the only
obstacle to the realization of the State of Palestine.

Mr. President,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

When, a year ago during the previous session of the General Assembly, we
submitted our application for consideration by the Security Council to allow
the State of Palestine to assume its rightful place among the nations of the
world as a full member in the United Nations, a major and hostile uproar was
raised by some against this political, diplomatic, peaceful step aimed at
saving the peace process by asserting its basis and foundation. However, our
endeavor was aborted, despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of the
countries of the world supported, and continues to support, our application.

Yet, last autumn, when the countries of the world had the opportunity to
declare their stance without any restrictions or "veto", they voted, despite
enormous pressures, in strong
support of the acceptance of Palestine as a Member State of the United
Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). A year
has passed and Palestine, the homeland of Mahmoud Darwish and Edward Said,
is playing its role in UNESCO with high responsibility and professionalism,
and is committed to international conventions, cooperating with all Member
States in order to advance the objectives of the organization, and providing
a model of what its positive, constructive contribution in international
organizations would be.

Mr. President,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

In order to enhance the chances for peace, we will continue our efforts to
obtain full membership for Palestine at the United Nations. And, for the
same purpose, we have begun
intensive consultations with various regional organizations and Member
States aimed at having the General Assembly adopt a resolution considering
the State of Palestine as a non-Member State of the United Nations during
this session. We are confident that the vast majority of the countries of
the world support our endeavor aimed at salvaging the chances for a just

In our endeavor, we do not seek to delegitimize an existing State - that is
Israel; but rather to assert the State that must be realized - that is

Mr. President,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

More than 64 years have passed since Al-Nakba and a large portion of those
who were its direct victims and witnessed its horrors have died with their
memories preserved in their minds
and hearts about their beautiful world that was devastated, their warm homes
that were demolished, and their peaceful villages that were erased from
existence, and about their
renaissance that was undermined, and their loved ones, dear men, women and
children, who were killed in wars, massacres, attacks, raids and incursions,
and about their beautiful country that was a beacon of coexistence,
tolerance, progress and a crossroads of civilization. They died in the camps
of displacement and refuge to which they were expelled following their
uprooting from their homeland as they awaited the moment in which they would
resume their suspended lives and complete their journey that was interrupted
and repair their shattered dreams. They died while they clung to their
legitimate human right to justice and freedom and to redress for the
historic unprecedented injustice inflicted upon them.

At present, 77% of the Palestinian people are under the age of 35 years.
Although they did not experience the horrors of Al-Nakba, they know very
well the details of its horrendous
facts from the accounts told to them by their parents and grandparents who
endured it. And, they are suffering its ongoing effects until today and
every day as a result of the practices of the occupation and the settlers on
a land that is diminishing and a horizon before them that is blocked against
their simple, ordinary dreams. They see their homeland and, their present
and future vulnerable to continued usurpation and they say firmly: we will
not allow a new Nakba to happen.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I say to you that the brave Palestinian people will not allow themselves to
be the victim of a new Nakba. My people will continue their epic
steadfastness and eternal survival in their
beloved land, every inch of which carries the evidence and landmarks
affirming their roots and unique connection throughout ancient history.
There is no homeland for us except Palestine, and there is no land for us
but Palestine. Our people will continue to build the institutions of their
State and will continue to strive to achieve national reconciliation to
restore the unity of our nation, people and institutions via resorting to
the ballot boxes, which will confirm our people's pluralistic democratic
choice. Our people are also determined to continue peaceful popular
resistance, consistent with international humanitarian law, against the
occupation and the settlements and for the sake of freedom, independence and

Mr. President,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Prevent the occurrence of a new Nakba in the Holy Land.

Support the realization of a free, independent State of Palestine now.

Let peace be victorious before it is too late.

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