Abbas calls on UN Security Council to ‘protect’ Palestinians from Israel

PA president tells UN Human Rights Council that Ramallah will continue ICC drive, derides international community for failure to act on behalf of Palestinians

Joshua Davidovich is The Times of Israel's Deputy Editor

File: Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, October 28, 2015 (AFP/Fabrice Coffrini)
File: Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, October 28, 2015 (AFP/Fabrice Coffrini)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas urged the United Nations Security Council to establish a “special regime of protection,” begging for the international community to impose a two-state solution and warning that time may be running out.

Speaking to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Abbas also said Ramallah would continue its state-building efforts, including joining the International Criminal Court, and rejected any bid to reach an interim peace deal with Israel.

Abbas called on the UN, “more urgently than any time before, to set up a special regime for international protection for the Palestinian people, immediately and urgently.”

“The Security Council is requested to shoulder its responsibilities and to establish a special regime of protection for the Palestinian people,” Abbas told the body, adding that his people “can longer bear all these attacks” by Israel.

“Protect us, protect us, we need you,” he added.

He accused Israel of carrying out “extrajudicial killings against unarmed civilians and detaining their corpses,” a reference to a recent government decision to not release bodies of terrorists killed during attacks to their families for burial. He did not condemn the stabbings or mention that many of those killed were shot while carrying out stabbing attacks.

Abbas took heat earlier this month for claiming that Israel had “executed in cold blood” a 13-year-old East Jerusalem boy. The teen, who Israel says stabbed two people, including a Jewish 13-year-old in a terror attack, was hit by a car and injured, but not killed, while fleeing the scene.

The Palestinian leaer also called again upon the Security Council to set a timeline for an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank, following a failed attempt nearly a year earlier.

“Is that too much to ask? Is it too much? Isn’t it high time for the international community to move from merely talking about the justice of the Palestinian cause to taking practical measures and procedures which would serve justice to my Palestinian people,” he said.

Abbas’s speech to the council came as Israel and the Palestinians are engaged in a fresh round of violence, which has seen near-daily stabbings and other attacks by Palestinians on Israelis and widespread clashes in the West Bank.

Abbas said he called for a “peaceful popular resistance,” but blamed the fighting on the Israeli occupation and the lack of action from the international community.

“Our people’a angry upheaval and the recent successive events are the inevitable outcome of what we had previously warned of … as well as the failure of the international community to address this injustice,” he said.

Speaking before Abbas, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein warned that the wave of deadly violence was “dangerous in the extreme” and could lead to a “catastrophe”.

“The violence between Palestinians and the Israelis will draw us ever closer to a catastrophe if not stopped immediately,” he said.

Much of the violence was touched off by Palestinian claims that Israel is not keeping to its commitments on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, home to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, a claim Abbas repeated, saying Israel was desecrating it “every second,” and performing illegal excavations beneath the holy site.

Abbas also reiterated a threat made at the United Nations a month earlier to cancel the 1993 Oslo accords if Israel did not abide by its commitments, as he claimed it was not. He also rejected any non-final status negotiations.

“We reject any interim or partial solution,” he said.

He called on Israel to release a fourth group of Arab prisoners agreed to as part of US-brokered peace negotiations that fell apart in 2014, as well as a settlement freeze, warning that time was running out to reach a peace deal.

“This might be the last chance for this solution. It may be the last chance. After that, who knows what winds of change will bring,” he said. “Do not push my people into further despair.”

Abbas also criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for comments suggesting that a World War II-era Palestinian religious leader, Haj Amin al-Husseini, a former grand mufti of Jerusalem, persuaded the Nazis to carry out a policy that exterminated 6 million Jews.

He called the allegations “false, untrue and baseless” and said they manipulate the sentiments of Jews about “the most horrendous crime known in modern history committed by the Nazis.

Netanyahu has accused Abbas of inciting violence by making false claims about the Temple Mount and denying Jewish historical ties to the site, and for lying about Palestinian terror attacks on Israelis.

AP and AFP contributed to this report.

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