Full Official Text of President Mahmoud Abbas’ Speech at the UNGA

Mr. President of the General
Assembly of the United Nations,

Mr. Secretary-General of the
United Nations,

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

At the outset, I wish to extend
my congratulations to H.E. Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser on his assumption of
the Presidency of the Assembly for this session, and wish him all success.

I reaffirm today my sincere
congratulations, on behalf of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the
Palestinian people, to the government and people of South Sudan for its deserved
admission as a full member of the United Nations, wishing them progress and
prosperity.

I also congratulate the
Secretary-General, H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, on his election for a new term at the
helm of the United Nations. This renewal of confidence reflects the world’s
appreciation for his efforts, which have strengthened the role of the United
Nations.

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Question Palestine is
intricately linked with the United Nations via the resolutions adopted by its
various organs and agencies and via the essential and lauded role of the United
Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East – UNRWA
– which embodies the international responsibility towards the plight of
Palestine refugees, who are the victims of Al-Nakba (Catastrophe) that
occurred in 1948. We aspire for and seek a greater and more effective role for
the United Nations in working to achieve a just and comprehensive peace in our
region that ensures the inalienable, legitimate national rights of the
Palestinian people as defined by the resolutions of international legitimacy of
the United Nations.

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

A year ago, at this same time,
distinguished leaders in this hall addressed the stalled peace efforts in our
region. Everyone had high hopes for a new round of final status negotiations,
which had begun in early September in Washington under the direct auspices of
President Barack Obama and with participation of the Quartet, and with Egyptian
and Jordanian participation, to reach a peace agreement within one year. We
entered those negotiations with open hearts and attentive ears and sincere
intentions, and we were ready with our documents, papers and proposals. But the
negotiations broke down just weeks after their launch.

After this, we did not give up
and did not cease our efforts for initiatives and contacts. Over the past year
we did not leave a door to be knocked or channel to be tested or path to be
taken and we did not ignore any formal or informal party of influence and
stature to be addressed. We positively considered the various ideas and
proposals and initiatives presented from many countries and parties. But all of
these sincere efforts and endeavors undertaken by international parties were
repeatedly wrecked by the positions of the Israeli government, which quickly
dashed the hopes raised by the launch of negotiations last September.

The core issue here is that the
Israeli government refuses to commit to terms of reference for the negotiations
that are based on international law and United Nations resolutions, and that it
frantically continues to intensify building of settlements on the territory of
the State of Palestine.

Settlement activities embody the
core of the policy of colonial military occupation of the land of the
Palestinian people and all of the brutality of aggression and racial
discrimination against our people that this policy entails. This policy, which
constitutes a breach of international humanitarian law and United Nations
resolutions, is the primary cause for the failure of the peace process, the
collapse of dozens of opportunities, and the burial of the great hopes that
arose from the signing of the Declaration of Principles in 1993 between the
Palestine Liberation Organization and Israel to achieve a just peace that would
begin a new era for our region.

The reports of United Nations
missions as well as by several Israeli institutions and civil societies convey a
horrific picture about the size of the settlement campaign, which the Israeli
government does not hesitate to boast about and which it continues to execute
through the systematic confiscation of the Palestinian lands and the
construction of thousands of new settlement units in various areas of the West
Bank, particularly in East Jerusalem, and accelerated construction of the
annexation Wall that is eating up large tracts of our land, dividing it into
separate and isolated islands and cantons, destroying family life and
communities and the livelihoods of tens of thousands of families. The occupying
Power also continues to refuse permits for our people to build in Occupied East
Jerusalem, at the same time that it intensifies its decades-long campaign of
demolition and confiscation of homes, displacing Palestinian owners and
residents under a multi-pronged policy of ethnic cleansing aimed at pushing them
away from their ancestral homeland. In addition, orders have been issued to
deport elected representatives from the city of Jerusalem. The occupying Power
also continues to undertake excavations that threaten our holy places, and its
military checkpoints prevent our citizens from getting access to their mosques
and churches, and it continues to besiege the Holy City with a ring of
settlements imposed to separate the Holy City from the rest of the Palestinian
cities.

The occupation is racing against
time to redraw the borders on our land according to what it wants and to impose
a fait accompli on the ground that changes the realities and that is
undermining the realistic potential for the existence of the State of
Palestine.

At the same time, the occupying
Power continues to impose its blockade on the Gaza Strip and to target
Palestinian civilians by assassinations, air strikes and artillery shelling,
persisting with its war of aggression of three years ago on Gaza, which resulted
in massive destruction of homes, schools, hospitals, and mosques, and the
thousands of martyrs and wounded.

The occupying Power also
continues its incursions in areas of the Palestinian National Authority through
raids, arrests and killings at the checkpoints. In recent years, the criminal
actions of armed settler militias, who enjoy the special protection of the
occupation army, has intensified with the perpetration of frequent attacks
against our people, targeting their homes, schools, universities, mosques,
fields, crops and trees. Despite our repeated warnings, the occupying Power has
not acted to curb these attacks and we hold them fully responsible for the
crimes of the settlers.

These are just a few examples of
the policy of the Israeli colonial settlement occupation, and this policy is
responsible for the continued failure of the successive international attempts
to salvage the peace process.

This policy will destroy the
chances of achieving a two-State solution upon which there is an international
consensus, and here I caution aloud: This settlement policy threatens to also
undermine the structure of the Palestinian National Authority and even end its
existence.

In addition, we now face the
imposition new conditions not previously raised, conditions that will transform
the raging conflict in our inflamed region into a religious conflict and a
threat to the future of a million and a half Christian and Muslim Palestinians,
citizens of Israel, a matter which we reject and which is impossible for us to
accept being dragged into.

All of these actions taken by
Israel in our country are unilateral actions and are not based on any earlier
agreements. Indeed, what we witness is a selective application of the agreements
aimed at perpetuating the occupation. Israel reoccupied the cities of the West
Bank by a unilateral action, and reestablished the civil and military occupation
by a unilateral action, and it is the one that determines whether or not a
Palestinian citizen has the right to reside in any part of the Palestinian
Territory. And it is confiscating our land and our water and obstructing our
movement as well as the movement of goods. And it is the one obstructing our
whole destiny. All of this is unilateral.

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In 1974, our deceased leader
Yasser Arafat came to this hall and assured the Members of the General Assembly
of our affirmative pursuit for peace, urging the United Nations to realize the
inalienable national rights of the Palestinian people, stating: “Do not let the
olive branch fall from my hand”.

In 1988, President Arafat again
addressed the General Assembly, which convened in Geneva to hear him, where he
submitted the Palestinian peace program adopted by the Palestine National
Council at its session held that year in Algeria.

When we adopted this program, we
were taking a painful and very difficult step for all of us, especially those,
including myself, who were forced to leave their homes and their towns and
villages, carrying only some of our belongings and our grief and our memories
and the keys of our homes to the camps of exile and the Diaspora in the 1948
Al-Nakba, one of the worst operations of uprooting, destruction and
removal of a vibrant and cohesive society that had been contributing in a
pioneering and leading way in the cultural, educational and economic renaissance
of the Arab Middle East.

Yet, because we believe in peace
and because of our conviction in international legitimacy, and because we had
the courage to make difficult decisions for our people, and in the absence of
absolute justice, we decided to adopt the path of relative justice – justice
that is possible and could correct part of the grave historical injustice
committed against our people. Thus, we agreed to establish the State of
Palestine on only 22% of the territory of historical Palestine – on all the
Palestinian Territory occupied by Israel in 1967.

We, by taking that historic
step, which was welcomed by the States of the world, made a major concession in
order to achieve a historic compromise that would allow peace to be made in the
land of peace.

In the years that followed –
from the Madrid Conference and the Washington negotiations leading to the Oslo
agreement, which was signed 18 years ago in the garden of the White House and
was linked with the letters of mutual recognition between the PLO and Israel, we
persevered and dealt positively and responsibly with all efforts aimed at the
achievement of a lasting peace agreement. Yet, as we said earlier, every
initiative and every conference and every new round of negotiations and every
movement was shattered on the rock of the Israeli settlement expansion
project.

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I confirm, on behalf of the
Palestine Liberation Organization, the sole legitimate representative of the
Palestinian people, which will remain so until the end of the conflict in all
its aspects and until the resolution of all final status issues, the
following:

1. The goal of the Palestinian
people is the realization of their inalienable national rights in their
independent State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, on all the
land of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, which
Israel occupied in the June 1967 war, in conformity with the resolutions of
international legitimacy and with the achievement of a just and agreed upon
solution to the Palestine refugee issue in accordance with resolution 194, as
stipulated in the Arab Peace Initiative which presented the consensus Arab
vision to resolve the core the Arab-Israeli conflict and to achieve a just and
comprehensive peace. To this we adhere and this is what we are working to
achieve. Achieving this desired peace also requires the release of political
prisoners and detainees in Israeli prisons without delay.

2. The PLO and the Palestinian
people adhere to the renouncement of violence and rejection and condemning of
terrorism in all its forms, especially State terrorism, and adhere to all
agreements signed between the Palestine Liberation Organization and Israel.

3. We adhere to the option of
negotiating a lasting solution to the conflict in accordance with resolutions of
international legitimacy. Here, I declare that the Palestine Liberation
Organization is ready to return immediately to the negotiating table on the
basis of the adopted terms of reference based on international legitimacy and a
complete cessation of settlement activities.

4. Our people will continue
their popular peaceful resistance to the Israeli occupation and its settlement
and apartheid policies and its construction of the racist annexation Wall, and
they receive support for their resistance, which is consistent with
international humanitarian law and international conventions and has the support
of peace activists from Israel and around the world, reflecting an impressive,
inspiring and courageous example of the strength of this defenseless people,
armed only with their dreams, courage, hope and slogans in the face of bullets,
tanks, tear gas and bulldozers.

5. When we bring our plight and
our case to this international podium, it is a confirmation of our reliance on
the political and diplomatic option and is a confirmation that we do not
undertake unilateral steps. Our efforts are not aimed at isolating Israel or
de-legitimizing it; rather we want to gain legitimacy for the cause of the
people of Palestine. We only aim to de-legitimize the settlement activities and
the occupation and apartheid and the logic of ruthless force, and we believe
that all the countries of the world stand with us in this regard.

I am here to say on behalf of
the Palestinian people and the Palestine Liberation Organization: We extend our
hands to the Israeli government and the Israeli people for peace-making. I say
to them: Let us urgently build together a future for our children where they can
enjoy freedom, security and prosperity. Let us build the bridges of dialogue
instead of checkpoints and walls of separation, and build cooperative relations
based on parity and equity between two neighboring States – Palestine and Israel
– instead of policies of occupation, settlement, war and eliminating the
other.

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Despite the unquestionable right
of our people to self-determination and to the independence of our State as
stipulated in international resolutions, we have accepted in the past few years
to engage in what appeared to be a test of our worthiness, entitlement and
eligibility. During the last two years our national authority has implemented a
program to build our State institutions. Despite the extraordinary situation and
the Israeli obstacles imposed, a serious extensive project was launched that has
included the implementation of plans to enhance and advance the judiciary and
the apparatus for maintenance of order and security, to develop the
administrative, financial, and oversight systems, to upgrade the performance of
institutions, and to enhance self-reliance to reduce the need for foreign aid.
With the thankful support of Arab countries and donors from friendly countries,
a number of large infrastructure projects have been implemented, focused on
various aspects of service, with special attention to rural and marginalized
areas.

In the midst of this massive
national project, we have been strengthening what we seeking to be the features
of our State: from the preservation of security for the citizen and public
order; to the promotion of judicial authority and rule of law; to strengthening
the role of women via legislation, laws and participation; to ensuring the
protection of public freedoms and strengthening the role of civil society
institutions; to institutionalizing rules and regulations for ensuring
accountability and transparency in the work of our Ministries and departments;
to entrenching the pillars of democracy as the basis for the Palestinian
political life.

When division struck the unity
of our homeland, people and institutions, we were determined to adopt dialogue
for restoration of our unity. We succeeded months ago in achieving national
reconciliation and we hope that its implementation will be accelerated in the
coming weeks. The core pillar of this reconciliation was to turn to the people
through legislative and presidential elections within a year, because the State
we want will be a State characterized by the rule of law, democratic exercise
and protection of the freedoms and equality of all citizens without any
discrimination and the transfer of power through the ballot box.

The reports issued recently by
the United Nations, the World Bank, the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) and the
International Monetary Fund confirm and laud what has been accomplished,
considering it a remarkable and unprecedented model. The consensus conclusion by
the AHLC a few days ago here described what has been accomplished as a
“remarkable international success story” and confirmed the readiness of the
Palestinian people and their institutions for the immediate independence of the
State of Palestine.

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is no longer possible to
redress the issue of the blockage of the horizon of the peace talks with the
same means and methods that have been repeatedly tried and proven unsuccessful
over the past years. The crisis is far too deep to be neglected, and what is
more dangerous are attempts to simply circumvent it or postpone its
explosion.

It is neither possible, nor
practical, nor acceptable to return to conducting business as usual, as if
everything is fine. It is futile to go into negotiations without clear
parameters and in the absence of credibility and a specific timetable.
Negotiations will be meaningless as long as the occupation army on the ground
continues to entrench its occupation, instead of rolling it back, and continues
to change the demography of our country in order to create a new basis on which
to alter the borders.

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a moment of truth and my
people are waiting to hear the answer of the world. Will it allow Israel to
continue its occupation, the only occupation in the world? Will it allow Israel
to remain a State above the law and accountability? Will it allow Israel to
continue rejecting the resolutions of the Security Council and the General
Assembly of the United Nations and the International Court of Justice and the
positions of the overwhelming majority of countries in the world?

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I come before you today from the
Holy Land, the land of Palestine, the land of divine messages, ascension of the
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the birthplace of Jesus Christ (peace
be upon him), to speak on behalf of the Palestinian people in the homeland and
in the the Diaspora, to say, after 63 years of suffering of the ongoing Nakba:
Enough. It is time for the Palestinian people to gain their freedom and
independence.

The time has come to end the
suffering and the plight of millions of Palestine refugees in the homeland and
the Diaspora, to end their displacement and to realize their rights, some of
them forced to take refuge more than once in different places of the world.

At a time when the Arab peoples
affirm their quest for democracy – the Arab Spring – the time is now for the
Palestinian Spring, the time for independence.

The time has come for our men,
women and children to live normal lives, for them to be able to sleep without
waiting for the worst that the next day will bring; for mothers to be assured
that their children will return home without fear of suffering killing, arrest
or humiliation; for students to be able to go to their schools and universities
without checkpoints obstructing them. The time has come for sick people to be
able to reach hospitals normally, and for our farmers to be able to take care of
their good land without fear of the occupation seizing the land and its water,
which the wall prevents access to, or fear of the settlers, for whom settlements
are being built on our land and who are uprooting and burning the olive trees
that have existed for hundreds of years. The time has come for the thousands of
prisoners to be released from the prisons to return to their families and their
children to become a part of building their homeland, for the freedom of which
they have sacrificed.

My people desire to exercise
their right to enjoy a normal life like the rest of humanity. They believe what
the great poet Mahmoud Darwish said: Standing here, staying here, permanent
here, eternal here, and we have one goal, one, one: to be.

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We profoundly appreciate and
value the positions of all States that have supported our struggle and our
rights and recognized the State of Palestine following the Declaration of
Independence in 1988, as well as the countries that have recently recognized the
State of Palestine and those that have upgraded the level of Palestine’s
representation in their capitals. I also salute the Secretary-General, who said
a few days ago that the Palestinian State should have been established years
ago.

Be assured that this support for
our people is more valuable to them than you can imagine, for it makes them feel
that someone is listening to their narrative and that their tragedy and the
horrors of Al-Nakba and the occupation, from which they have so suffered,
are not being ignored. And, it reinforces their hope that stems from the belief
that justice is possible in this in this world. The loss of hope is the most
ferocious enemy of peace and despair is the strongest ally of extremism.

I say: The time has come for my
courageous and proud people, after decades of displacement and colonial
occupation and ceaseless suffering, to live like other peoples of the earth,
free in a sovereign and independent homeland.

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to inform you that,
before delivering this statement, I submitted, in my capacity as the President
of the State of Palestine and Chairman of the Executive Committee of the
Palestine Liberation Organization, to H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of
the United Nations, an application for the admission of Palestine on the basis
of the 4 June 1967 borders, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital, as a full
member of the United Nations.

I call upon Mr.
Secretary-General to expedite transmittal of our request to the Security
Council, and I call upon the distinguished members of the Security Council to
vote in favor of our full membership. I also call upon the States that did not
recognized the State of Palestine as yet to do so.

Excellencies,Ladies and
Gentlemen,

The support of the countries of
the world for our endeavor is a victory for truth,freedom, justice, law and
international legitimacy, and it provides tremendous support for the peace
option and enhances the chances of success of the negotiations.

Excellencies,Ladies and
Gentlemen,

Your support for the
establishment of the State of Palestine and for its admission to the United
Nations as a full member is the greatest contribution to peacemaking in the Holy
Land.

I thank you.

(mideastnews-danmike.blogspot.com / 23.09.2011)

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