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Abbas may have ignored advisers by giving ‘genocide’ speech

PA delegation wanted president to either announce plans to pursue war crimes charges against Israel or avoid angering US, unnamed source says

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas after addressing the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York, September 26, 2014. (photo credit: AFP/Timothy A. Clary)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas after addressing the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York, September 26, 2014. (photo credit: AFP/Timothy A. Clary)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas may have spurned the advice of his delegation in delivering an inflammatory speech at the UN General Assembly on Friday in which he accused Israel of genocide and drew the ire of the United States, according to a source close to Palestinian officials.

The Palestinian delegation was split into three camps regarding what path Abbas should take in his speech, the source told Ma’an news agency according to a report published Monday.

One group urged Abbas to resolutely declare that the Palestinians would be seeking to have Israeli leaders prosecuted for war crimes in the International Criminal Court; a second group pushed him to avoid inflammatory statements in order to appease the Americans; and another camp wanted him to strongly condemn Israel for its actions in Gaza, but avoid upsetting the US.

The third position had the most support among the delegates, according to the source.

It is unclear whether Abbas intended to adopt any of the delegation’s advice, but the consequences of his speech did not reflect the goals of any of the positions.

While Abbas did not announce any intentions to go to the ICC, thus adhering to the status quo, the United States slammed his speech, saying it was “offensive” and undermined peace efforts.

“President Abbas’s speech today included offensive characterizations that were deeply disappointing and which we reject,” said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.

“Such provocative statements are counterproductive and undermine efforts to create a positive atmosphere and restore trust between the parties,” she added.

The speech was roundly panned by Israeli politicians, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asserted Sunday that in his own speech at the UN on Monday, he would “refute the lies” told by Abbas.

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