Israeli envoy: UN must condemn Abbas’s ‘vile fabrications’

In letter to secretary general, Danny Danon says PA chief’s denials of Jewish connection to Israel ‘remind us of the worst regimes of the previous century’

Danny Danon, Israel's ambassador to the UN, speaks at the General Assembly on December 21, 2017, at United Nations headquarters. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Danny Danon, Israel's ambassador to the UN, speaks at the General Assembly on December 21, 2017, at United Nations headquarters. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon on Monday urged the secretary general to condemn Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s speech a day earlier, in which he denied the Jewish connection to the Land of Israel.

“Among the many vile fabrications in his address…Abbas repeated the lie that the reestablishment of the nation-state of the Jewish people in our historic homeland is ‘a colonial project that has nothing to do with Judaism,’” Danon wrote, in a letter to Antonio Guterres.

“Abbas also accused European powers of ‘moving Jews from Europe to the Middle East’ as part of a plan to further their economic interests. These statements sadly remind us of the racist words of the worst regimes of the previous century,” he said.

“It is unfortunate that, with his latest statements … Abbas has yet again responded negatively to serious initiatives for dialogue by Israel, the United States and other members of the international community,” he continued.

“The hateful words of the (president) of the Palestinian Authority, which seem to question the very right of a United Nations member-state to exist, are completely unacceptable and must be unequivocally condemned,” Danon stated.

Abbas’s speech Sunday night, in which he angrily rejected US President Donald Trump’s approach to the Middle East peace process, was filled with perceived anti-Semitic comments. He went so far as to imply that European Jews during the Holocaust chose to undergo “murder and slaughter” rather than emigrate to British-held Palestine, and alleged that the State of Israel’s first prime minister David Ben-Gurion imported Jews from Yemen and Iraq to the country against their will.

The Palestinian leader further asserted that the State of Israel was formed as “a colonial project that has nothing to do with Judaism,” to safeguard European interests.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that Abbas was serving Israel’s interests by lashing out against Washington and Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi shake hands at a joint press conference in the president’s house in New Delhi, India, on January 15, 2018. (Avi Ohayon/GPO)

“He exposed what we have been saying all the time, that the root of the conflict is the basic refusal to recognize a Jewish state in any borders,” Netanyahu said from New Delhi, where he is on an official state visit, adding that the Palestinians would find no mediator to replace the Americans.

Abbas has raged against the American decision, breaking off diplomatic contacts with Washington, and on Sunday, the Palestinian leader caustically reacted to a Trump’s expected peace plan that reportedly wanted the Palestinians to accept Jerusalem suburb Abu Dis as its capital, calling it “the slap of the century.”

“We told Trump we will not accept his project, the ‘deal of the century,’ which has become the ‘slap of the century,’” Abbas said. “But we will slap back.

“We do not take instructions from anyone, and say ‘no’ to anyone if it is about our destiny, our cause, our country and our people… 1,000 times no,’” he said, opening a meeting of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Central Council in Ramallah.

Netanyahu said Abbas’s statement, both in content and in the way it was said, would “aid” Israeli efforts to explain its position to a skeptical international community.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah on January 14, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / ABBAS MOMANI)

“Without a change in the stance that Abbas expressed, there will not be peace,” Netanyahu said. “Today, when I speak about it to world leaders, it will be more clear to them.”

Other Israeli officials have also sharply criticized Abbas, with Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman saying Monday he had “lost his senses.”

President Reuven Rivlin said “What we heard yesterday from Mahmoud Abbas was terrible.”

Joshua Davidovich contributed to this report.

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