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Uri Avnery: Also after harsh words, Abbas remains partner

Uri Avnery: Also after harsh words, Abbas remains partner

Press release 29.9.2014


"President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) was and remains a partner for peace, the best partner which Israel could find – also and especially after his speech at the UN," said former Knesset Member Uri Avnery of Gush Shalom, the Israeli Peace Bloc.

"Abbas was and remains a steadfast and reliable peace partner - for those who are willing to end the occupation, evacuate all the Occupied Territories and facilitate the creation of an independent and sovereign Palestinian state, whose border with Israel will be based on the pre-’67 lines.

"The occupation stalwarts and champions of settlement construction have today burst out in a mighty chorus, shouting ‘Abbas is not a partner!’ From their point of view, they are right. Abbas is certainly not a partner for those who seek to perpetuate military rule over the Occupied Territories, to build and expand settlements and to imprison the Palestinians in tiny enclaves. To those who have such intentions and plans, there is no Palestinian partner and never will be. Those who have such intentions and plans are embarked on eternal war with all Palestinians.

"The ministers of the Government of Israel have already forgotten that, just a few weeks ago, the Israeli armed forces were sent to sow unprecedented death and destruction in the Gaza Strip. Did they expect that a leader addressing the world on behalf of the Palestinian People would also erase from his memory -and from the text of his speech - the horror which befell his people in Gaza?

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"Indeed, when Abbas spoke on the UN podium of 'genocide', that was a rhetorical exaggeration which is completely unacceptable. But when Abbas spoke of war crimes, when he cried out 'Israeli planes and tanks killed brutally, destroyed homes and schools, and shattered the dreams of thousands of men, women and children’, that was neither ‘lie’ nor 'libel, not 'slander' and also not 'incitement'. To the enduring shame of Israel, these are correct factual depictions of what Israeli soldiers and officers, under the direction of their government and with the support of the majority of the citizens of Israel, did in full view of the whole world.

"Contrary to what is being said to the citizens of Israel, also now Abbas did not close the door to negotiations with Israel – to serious negotiations, negotiations with real content, negotiations which could and should lead to ending the occupation and the signing of a peace agreement between the existing state of Israel and the state of Palestine which would arise at its side.

"Abbas only made clear that the Palestinians will not again enter into hollow and empty negotiations. There will be no further miserable farces such as what took place at the beginning of this year under the auspices of Secretary of State Kerry, when during nine months of negotiations Netanyahu altogether refused to discuss the boundaries and declare what map he has to offer.

"The UN speech made clear that, in the absence of an Israeli government willing to negotiate seriously about ending the occupation, President Abbas has embarked on the path of diplomatic struggle in the international arena. It is Abbas’ hope that in this way it would indeed be possible to free his people from the yoke of occupation and lead them to national independence.

"Prime Minister Netanyahu is today going out to the UN, to embark on a diplomatic and propaganda campaign against Abbas and try to thwart these efforts. This is a shortsighted policy. It is in the vital interest of peace-seeking Israelis that Abbas would be able to show his people real and tangible achievements gained through a political, diplomatic, non-violent struggle. The alternative would be much worse for both peoples, for all who live in this country. "


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