“Israel is a colonial project that has nothing to do with Jews,” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said in a blistering two-hour speech on Sunday that included a virtual best-of album of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic canards.
“Today is the day that the Oslo Accords end,” Abbas said. “Let me be clear: We will not accept American leadership of a political process involving negotiations.”
Abbas spoke during a two-day meeting of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Central Council that was called to respond to President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
In his diatribe, Abbas said:
•Six million Jews preferred to be killed by the Nazis in Europe rather than leave for Israel. (During World War II British mandatory authorities prevented most Jewish immigration to Palestine.)
•Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, grudgingly worked to force Jews in Arab countries to come to Israel only after he determined that he could not fill the country with European Jews. (The governments in several Arab countries compelled their Jewish residents to flee after a Jewish state was re-established in 1948.)
•Israel is trying “to destroy our younger generation” by importing “frightening amounts of drugs.”
He slammed Trump and vowed never to meet with U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, who he called a “settler.”
“We say to Trump, we will not accept his deal. The deal of the century has become the slap in the face of the century,” Abbas said.
“Today is the day that the Oslo accords end. Israel killed them,” Abbas said. “We are an authority without any authority, and an occupation without any cost. Trump threatens to cut funding to the authority because negotiations have failed. When the [expletive] did negotiations start?”
[On Tuesday, the U.S. froze more than half of its funding for the United Nations agency that administers aid to Palestinian refugees and their descendants, but a spokeswoman said it was because Trump wants other countries to increase their assistance to UNRWA, not to punish Abbas.]
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin condemned Abbas’ remarks in a meeting Monday in Jerusalem with a delegation of AIPAC board of directors.
“What we heard yesterday from Mahmoud Abbas, was terrible. He returned back to the ideas he expressed decades ago, when they were no less terrible. To say Israel is the result of a Western conspiracy to settle Jews in land belonging to Arab populations? To say that that the Jewish people has no connection with the land of Israel? He forgot many things, and said exactly the things that led him to be accused years ago of anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial,” Rivlin said.
Rivlin added: “These are precisely the things that block us. In his words he is rejecting our return to our homeland, even though Abu Mazen (Abbas) knows very well that the Koran itself recognizes the land of Israel as our land. Without this basic recognition we will not be able to build trust and move forward.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu also responded, in a statement issued from India, where he is on an official visit.
“I head what Abu Mazen said,” Netanyahu said. “He has revealed the truth. He has torn off the mask and shown to the public the simple truth that I have been working to instill for many long years: The root of the conflict between us and the Palestinians is their steadfast refusal to recognize the Jewish state in any borders whatsoever.”
Abbas’ remarks drew condemnation across the Israeli and U.S. Jewish spectrum, including from groups that have not hesitated to criticize the Israeli government for recalcitrance in the peace process.
“We condemn unequivocally President Abbas’ recent statements rejecting the Jewish people’s connections with Israel, denying the legitimacy of a Jewish State of Israel, and promulgating conspiracy theories about the creation of the State of Israel,” the Reform movement said in a statement. “Such statements and actions undercut possibilities for a peace process that alone holds the path to a viable and independent Palestinian state.”
J Street, the leftist Jewish Middle East policy group, called the speech “unacceptable.” Abbas’ frustration, the group said, was “no excuse for calling into question either the Jewish connection to, or Palestinian recognition of, the state of Israel.”