Abbas to European Parliament: Israel turned our country into an open-air prison

PA President addresses EU Parliament; Address filled with accusations against State of Israel; Abbas calls for international conference similar to negotiations for Iran nuclear deal for resumed negotiations with Israel

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Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas addressed the European Parliament Thursday, his speech following Israeli President Reuven Rivlin’s address on Wednesday and Abbas’s refusal to meet with Rivlin in Brussels.

Abbas’s speech was centered on accusations against the State of Israel, Abbas accusing Israel as responsible for failures in past negotiations and resuming peace talks. He claimed that the Palestinians are “against terrorism in whatever form it may take,” stating that an end to Israel’s “occupation” would make terrorism “disappear” and as a result there will be “no more terrorism in the Middle East, or anywhere else in the world.”

Abbas stated that the Palestinian Authority opposes any interim agreement and insists on a two-state solution based on 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state. He additionally claimed the Arab Peace Initiative as a base for leading to a solution with no changes to the 2002 plan, refuting Prime Minister Netanyahu’s calls for Arab states to amend the Arab Peace Initiative. He stated “We oppose any suggestion of temporary borders or an interim agreement because it’s a waste of time that doesn’t lead anywhere. We favor a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as the capital, and the solution will be based on the Arab Peace Initiative that was that was approved in 2002 with no changes to it.”

Israel has been clear that returning to 1967 borders will never happen, and that Jerusalem will remain the capital of the State of Israel.

He accused Israel of exploiting “negotiations since Oslo to set facts on the ground and build in the settlements,” claiming that “until today Israel conducts itself as a national above international law. If one country attacks another then the world should rise up but this doesn’t happen when it comes to the Palestinians.” He went on to accuse Israel of “experiencing a tendency toward violence and extremism and this is expressed in settler terrorism… This is in addition to the Israeli army’s criminal conduct which carries out murderous operations against the Palestinians and holds itself above the law. All this has led senior Israelis [officials]” and “senior journalists”, Abbas claiming all of which are “growing signs of fascism in Israeli society”.

Abbas stated that “Palestine, the homeland and the nation, in its history, legacy and identity, has experienced and still experiences a historical slaughter and pillage unprecedented in the 20th century, still carrying on in the 21st century, in front of the eyes and ears of the international community,” accusing Israel of having “turned our country into an open-air prison”.

Abbas called on the international community to hold Israel accountable through international law and for the creation of an “international conference” to create and monitor negotiations “as happened in the negotiations with Iran,” in reference to world powers’ negotiations with Iran for a nuclear deal.

Abbas finished his speech claiming “Peace is in everyone’s interest and I hope that you, Israelis, neighbors, believe in that too. Let us build a peace, which does not involve hegemony or colonization or aggression.”