Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas vowed to stop abiding by the 1993 Oslo Accords in a speech at the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, accusing Israel of halting the withdrawal of its forces from disputed territories as stipulated by the peace agreement.
“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,” Abbas said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the speech was “deceitful and encourages incitement and lawlessness in the Middle East.”
Israel did unilaterally withdraw from the Gaza Strip in 2005. Since then, the terror group Hamas has taken over control of the coastal enclave, leading to thousands of rockets being launched at the Jewish state. The latest such rocket was intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system over the Israeli city of Ashdod on Wednesday. Israeli officials have expressed concern that a similar situation could arise in Judea and Samaria should Israel withdraw from that region completely.
Abbas also accused Israel of exacerbating tensions on the Temple Mount holy site because of “extremist Israeli group incursions on the Al-Aqsa mosque” at the Jerusalem compound.
“We will not accept this, and the Palestinian people will not allow the implementation of this illegal scheme,” he said.
The Temple Mount is administered by the Islamic Waqf, a Muslim trust overseen by Jordan that limits non-Muslim visitation and bans Jewish prayer. An increase in Jewish visitors has been led by Jewish activist groups such as the Temple Institute, which have been calling for greater Jewish access to the Temple Mount.
Earlier this month, Israel blasted a United Nations Security Council statement about the ongoing tension at the Temple Mount, saying the statement “completely ignores” both Palestinian violence and Jewish history at the holy site. In recent weeks, Palestinians have been rioting in the Old City of Jerusalem by throwing rocks and pipe bombs at Jews. On Rosh Hashanah eve, a Palestinian stone-throwing attack killed a 64-year-old Jewish man while he was driving home.
“In contrast to the Palestinians, Israel is strictly maintaining the status quo on the Temple Mount and is committed to continuing to do so in accordance with the agreements between us and the Jordanians and the Waqf,” Netanyahu said in reaction to Abbas’s U.N. speech.
Abbas had said, “The Israeli government insists on continuing its destruction of the two-state solution and on entrenchment of two regimes on the ground: an apartheid regime that is currently imposed on the territory of the State of Palestine.”
Netanyahu countered, “We expect and call on the [Palestinian] Authority and its leader to act responsibly and accede to the proposal of the prime minister of Israel and enter into direct negotiations with Israel without preconditions.”
The PA, said Abbas, will begin ignoring the Oslo Accords “by all peaceful and legal means. Either the Palestinian National Authority will be the conduit of the Palestinian people from occupation to independence, or Israel, the occupying power, must bear all of its responsibilities.” Netanyahu said the fact that Abbas “time and again” has refused to negotiate directly with Israel “is the best possible proof of the fact he does not intend to reach a peace agreement.”