Israel slams Palestinian president’s speech at UN assembly

Jerusalem, Oct 1 (IANS) Israel on Wednesday slammed the speech made by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), saying it was “deceitful” and “encourages incitement and lawlessness” in the Middle East.

Addressing the high-level debate of the UNGA in New York, Abbas accused Israel of refusing to adhere to the 1993 Oslo accords, and stated that the Palestinian Authority would no longer be bound by these agreements, hinting at the dissolution of the self-governing body, Xinhua news agnecy reported.

“We therefore declare that we cannot continue to be bound by these agreements and that Israel must assume all of its responsibilities as an occupying power,” Abbas said in his speech.

Abbas also accused Israel of pursuing a scheme to divide the al-Aqsa mosque compound, which Muslims revere as the Noble sanctuary and is called as the Temple Mount by Jews, “in direct violation of the status quo since before 1967 and thereafter”.

“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 (the Islamic religious authority that oversees the holy site),” said the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a statement issued shortly after Abbas delivered his speech at the UN.

The statement did not respond directly to Abbas’ declaration about the Oslo accords, but called on the Palestinian leader to resume direct talks with Israel.

“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,” it said.

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