Knesset members from the left and the right had some strong reactions Saturday to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s UN speech in which he accused Israel of committing genocide against Gaza residents during the recent conflict.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Abbas’s remarks “prove for the umpteenth time that [Abbas] is not a leader who wants peace and strives to advance the lives of his people, but a person who is propagating lies, is engaged in incitement and spreads hate speech against Israel.”
Ya’alon added that Abbas was deceiving the international community and could not be trusted as a partner for peace negotiations.
“We have no partner for an agreement to end the conflict, and so will not compromise the security of Israeli citizens,” he said.
Labor’s Eitan Cabel called Abbas’s statements “false and outrageous.”
“They are worthy of condemnation by any true peace supporter,” Cabel said. “Even if he has internal political needs which force him to ‘wink’ at Hamas, there is no justification for such remarks.”
“This is a disappointing speech that strengthens those who oppose peace, and does not carry with it any hope,” he added.
Nonetheless, Cabel also urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to urgently seek to resume peace negotiations with Abbas’s PA.
Likud Deputy Minister Ofir Akunis said the PA leader’s words revealed “the true face of the PA president.”
“It is obvious that this is not a peace partner but a man who does not miss any opportunity to disseminate Palestinian lies and Israel-hatred,” Israel Radio quoted Akunis as saying.
Meretz chair Zahava Gal-on directed her criticism at the Israeli government and Netanyahu. Abbas’s words, she said, “reflect a complete loss of trust by the Palestinians in Netanyahu as a peace partner.”
“No surprise,” she said. “Netanyahu has been demonstrating diplomatic contrarianism for five years, and the negotiations he conducted under American auspices was a negotiation to nowhere.”
“Meretz supports (Abbas’s) international efforts to bring about an end to the occupation and win international recognition for a Palestinian member state in the UN, even before – and as a path to – peace through negotiations.”
In Abbas’s address to the UN General Assembly, he demanded an end to the occupation, accused Israel of waging a “war of genocide” in Gaza and asserted that Palestinians faced a future in a “most abhorrent form of apartheid” under Israeli rule.
Israeli leaders reacted with anger and scorn to Abbas’s address, with one official from Netanyahu’s office accusing the PA president of incitement.
Abbas said Israel committed genocide in its recent conflict with terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip — calling 2014 “a year of a new war of genocide perpetrated against the Palestinian people” — and said that Israel was not interested in living in peace with its Palestinian neighbors.
“It’s a speech of incitement full of lies,” an unnamed source from the Prime Minister’s Office told the Hebrew press. “That’s not how someone who wants peace speaks.”
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said in a statement shortly after Abbas’s speech that the PA president demonstrated that “he doesn’t want to be, and cannot be, a partner for a logical diplomatic resolution.
“It’s no coincidence that he joined a [national consensus] government with Hamas,” the foreign minister added. “Abbas complements Hamas when he deals with diplomatic terrorism and slanders Israel with false accusations.
The US condemned Abbas’s statements too, with a spokeswoman for the State Department saying it was “offensive” and undermined peace efforts