Transcript: Statement by President Mahmoud Abbas on Palestine’s application for non-member observer status at the United Nations
Transcribed & edited by Jenny Jiang
Transcript of *remarks by President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority at the United Nations General Assembly on Nov. 29, 2012:
*Audio translation provided by webtv.un.org
In the name of God, the merciful, the compassionate.
President of the General Assembly, excellency Ban Ki-Moon, the Secretary General, ladies and gentlemen.
Palestine comes today to the United Nations General Assembly at a time when there’s still [incomprehensible audio]; and still burying its beloved martyrs of children, women, and men who have fallen victim to the latest Israeli aggression; still searching for remnants of life amid the ruins of homes destroyed by Israeli bombs on the Gaza Strip, wiping out entire families – their men, women, and children murdered along with their dreams, their hopes, their futures, and their longing to live an ordinary life and to live in freedom and peace.
Palestine comes today to this prestigious international forum, representative and protector of international legitimacy, reaffirming our conviction that the international community now stands before the last chance to save the two-state solution.
Palestine comes to you today at a defining moment, regionally and internationally, in order to reaffirm its presence and to try to protect the possibilities and the foundation of a just peace that is deeply hoped for in our region.
Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen. The Israeli aggression against our people in the Gaza Strip has confirmed once again the urgent and pressing need to end the Israeli occupation and for our people to gain their freedom and independence.
This aggression also confirms the Israeli government’s adherence to the policy of occupation, brute force, and war, which in turn obliges the international community to shoulder its responsibilities towards the Palestinian people and towards peace. That is why we are here today.
I say with great pain and sorrow there is certainly no one in the world that requires that tens of Palestinian children lose their lives in order to reaffirm the above mentioned facts.
There was no need for thousands of deadly raids and tons of explosives for the world to be reminded that the Israeli occupation must come to an end and that there are people that must be liberated and there was no need for a new devastating war in order for us to be aware of the absence of peace. That is why we are here today.
Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen. The Palestinian people [incomprehensible audio]…recover from the ashes of a Nakba in 1948, which was intended to extinguish their being and to expel them in order to uproot and erase their presence, which was rooted in the depths of their land and the depth of history. In those dark days, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were torn from their homes and displaced within the site of their homeland, through their beautiful and prosperous country, to refugee camps in one of the most dreadful campaigns of ethnic cleansing in modern history.
In those dark days, our people have looked to the United Nations as a beacon of hope and a peer for ending the injustice and for achieving justice and peace, the realization of rights. And our people still believe in this and continue to wait. That is why we are here today.
Ladies and gentlemen. In the course of our long national struggle, our people have always strived to ensure harmony and conformity between the goals and means of their struggle and international law and the spirit of the era in accordance with preventing realities and changes.
And our people have always strived not to lee their humanity, their highest deeply-held moral values, and innovative abilities for survival, steadfastness, creativity despite the horrors that befell them and continue to befall them today as a consequence of a Nakba.
Despite the enormity and weight of this task, the Palestine Liberation Organization – the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people and the constant leader of the revolutionary struggle – has consistently strived to achieve this harmony and conformity.
When the Palestine National Council decided in 1988 to pursue the Palestinian peace initiative and adopted the Declaration of Independence, which was based on Resolution 181 adopted by your august body, it was in fact undertaking under the leadership of the late President Yasser Arafat a historic, difficult, and courageous decision that defined the requirements for a historic reconciliation that would turn the page on war, aggression, and occupation.
This was not an easy matter. Yet we had the courage and sense of high responsibility to make the right decision to protect the higher measure interests of our people and to confirm our appeals for international legitimacy. And it was a decision, which in the same year, was welcomed, supported, and blessed by this high body that is meeting today.
Ladies and gentlemen. We have heard, and you too have heard, specifically over the past months the incessant Israeli threats in response to our peaceful political and diplomatic endeavor for Palestine to acquire non-member observer status in the United Nations. And you have surely witnessed how some of these threats have been carried in a more vile and horrific manner just days ago in Gaza Strip.
We have not heard one word from any Israeli official expressing any sincere concern to save the peace process. On the contrary, our people have witnessed and continued to witness an unprecedented intensification of military assaults, the blockade, settlement activities, and ethnic cleansing, particularly in occupied East Jerusalem and Nazareth attacked by settlers and other practices by which this Israeli occupation is becoming synonymous with an Apartheid system of colonial occupation, which institutionalizes the plague of racism and entrenches hatred and incitement.
What permits the Israeli government to blatantly continue with its aggressive policies and the perpetration of war crimes stems from its conviction that it is above the international law and that it has immunity from accountability and consequences. This belief, unfortunately, is bolstered by the failure by some to condemn and demand the cessation of [Israeli] violations and crimes and by positions that equate the victim and the executioner.
The moment has arrived for the world to say clearly: Enough of aggression, settlements, and occupation. This is why we are here now.
Ladies and gentlemen. We do not come here seeking to de-legitimize a state established years ago and that is Israel. Rather, we’re here to affirm the legitimacy of a state that must now achieve its independence and that is Palestine.
We did not come here to ask further complications to the peace process, which Israel’s policies have thrown into the intensive care unit. We came here to lodge a final serious attempt to achieve peace. Our endeavor does not end at terminating what remains of the negotiations process. We should [incomprehensible audio] its objective and credibility but rather try to breathe new life into the negotiations and at establishing a solid foundation based on all the terms of reference of the relevant international resolutions in order for the negotiations to succeed.
Ladies and gentlemen. On behalf of the Palestine Liberation Organization, I say we will not give up, we will not tire, and our determination will not wane and we will continue to strive to achieve a just peace.
However, above all, I affirm that our people will not relinquish their inalienable national rights as defined by United Nations resolutions. And our people claim to the right to defend themselves against aggression and occupation, and they will continue to their popular peaceful resistance. This is what we can do to continue popular peaceful resistance and their epic steadfastness and will continue to build on their land and they will end the division and flex their national unity.
We will accept no less than the independence of the state of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capitol and all the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967 to live in peace and security alongside the state of Israel and a solution for the refugee issue on the Resolution 194 as part of the Arab Peace Initiative. I don’t think that’s terrorism that we are pursuing in the United Nations.
Yet, we must repeat once again our warning: The window of opportunity is narrowing and time is quickly running out. The rope of peace is shortening and hope is withering.
The innocent lives that have been taken by Israeli bombs – more than 168 martyrs, mostly children and women, including 12 members of one family in Gaza – are a painful reminder to the world that this racist colonial occupation is making the two-state solution and the prospects for realizing peace a very difficult choice, if not impossible.
It is time for action and the moment to move forward. That is why we are here today.
Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen. The world is being asked today to answer a specific question that we have often repeated. Is there a surplus people in our region? Tell us. The world must say are we a surplus or is there a state which is lacking which must be embodied which is Palestine. The world is being asked to take a significant step in the process of rectifying the unprecedented historical injustice inflicted on the Palestinian people since a Nekba of 1948.
Every voice among you supporting our endeavor today is the most valuable voice of courage. And every state that we earn support today to Palestine’s request for non-member observer state status is affirming its principle and moral support for freedom and the rights of people and international law and peace.
Your support for our endeavor today will send a promising message to millions of Palestinians on the land of Palestine, in the refugee camps, both in the homeland and the diaspora, and to the prisoners struggling for freedom in Israel’s prisons that justice is possible and that there is a reason to be hopeful and that the peoples of the world do not accept the continuation of the occupation. This is why we are here today.
Your support for our endeavor today will give a reason for hope to a people besieged by a racist colonial occupation.
Failure would almost amount to complicity in Israel’s aggression and in a state of paralysis that some are striving to impose on the international community.
Your support, ladies and gentlemen, would confirm to our people that they are not alone and their adherence to international law is never going to be a losing proposition.
In our endeavor today to acquire non-member state status for Palestine for the United Nations would reaffirm that Palestine will always adhere to and respect the Charter and Resolutions of the United Nations and international humanitarian law, uphold equality, guarantee civil liberties, uphold the rule of law, promote democracy and pluralism, and uphold and protect the rights of women. This is what we are pledging today.
As we promised our friends and our brothers and sisters, we will continue to consult with them. Upon the approval of your esteemed body our request to operate Palestine status, we will act responsibly and positively in our next steps and we will work to strengthen cooperation with the countries and peoples of the world for the sake of a just peace.
Ladies and gentlemen. 65 years ago, on this day, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 181, which partitioned the land of historic Palestine into two states and became the birth certificate for Israel.
65 years later, and on the same day, which your esteemed body has designated as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people, the General Assembly stands before a moral duty, which it must not hesitate to undertake, and stands before a historic duty, which cannot endure further delay, and before a practical duty to salvage the chances for peace, which is urgent and cannot be postponed.
Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen. The General Assembly – the United Nations General Assembly – is called upon today to issue a birth certificate of the reality of the state of Palestine. This is why we are here today. It’s our hope, ladies and gentlemen, it’s our hope in God and in you, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you and peace be upon you.
- WebTV.un.org: Palestinian Authority, Question of Palestine, General Assembly, 44th plenary meeting – Statement by H.E. Mahmoud Abbas, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestinian Liberation Organization and President of the Palestinian Authority on the Question of Palestine at the 44th plenary on Nov. 29, 2012
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