Mahmoud Abbas at the UN: "There will be no stability in the region without a Palestinian state" / Photo: Reuters, Editing by Assaf Drori
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas spoke Thursday evening on the stage of the UN General Assembly, hinting that Israel and the United States will not be able to reach an agreement on normalization with Saudi Arabia without accepting demands made by the PA as part of the negotiations. "Anyone who thinks that peace can be achieved without the Palestinians receiving their legitimate rights is delusional," he said.
He also attacked the Israeli government, which he called the "racist far-right government" and claimed that it was continuing its attacks on the Palestinian people, destroying homes and property. He said Israel was harming Jerusalem, violating the rights of its residents and attacking its holy sites. "We warn against turning the political conflict into a religious conflict for which Israel will bear responsibility. I call on the international community to preserve the historic and legal status of Jerusalem," he said.
Meanwhile, Mahmoud Abbas called for an international peace summit to be attended by all the countries that want to achieve peace in the Middle East. According to him, this summit may be the last chance for a two-state solution and to prevent an escalation of the situation.
Yesterday, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said that "every day we are getting closer to an agreement with Israel." Bin Salman made the remarks in an interview with Fox News when asked if Saudi Arabia was getting close to an agreement with Israel. According to him, the Palestinian issue is very important so that there can be a normalization agreement with Israel: "We hope that the agreement will make life easier for the Palestinians," he said.
In the interview, bin Salman made it clear that if there is a breakthrough in relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia, he would be willing to work with any Israeli leader: "According to Saudi policy, the identity of the country's leader is not interfered with. If we succeed in reaching an agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia, we will establish relations with Israel regardless of who heads it."
Mohammed bin Salman, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Mahmoud Abbas/Image processing, Getty Images, Haim Goldberg/Flash 90, Reuters
Bin Salman's comments come after a high-profile meeting between US President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which took place earlier today in New York.
In statements open to the media, the American president told Netanyahu that a peace agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia would be a "big deal." He noted that he suffers from "Irish optimism" and added that if ten years ago someone had heard them talk like this about normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia, he would have asked what they drank. "Irish whiskey," Netanyahu replied.
The prime minister also addressed the issue, telling Biden: "Under your leadership, we will be able to achieve a historic peace agreement with Saudi Arabia. This will bring the end of the Arab-Israeli conflict closer and promote reconciliation between the Muslim world and the Jewish state. If we work together on this, we can bring about a better future."
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