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Saturday, September 24, 2011
Full Official Text of President Mahmoud Abbas Speech at the UNGA

[Dr. Aaron Lerner - IMRA:

Abbas says "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."

But then he says "The time has come for the thousands of prisoners to be
released from the prisons ...for the freedom of which they have sacrificed."

Question: If you renounce violence how can you take the position that acts
of violence should not be punished?]

Full Official Text of President Mahmoud Abbas' Speech at the UNGA
Date : 23/9/2011 Time : 19:51
Palestine News & Information Agency - WAFA
http://english.wafa.ps/index.php?action=detail&id=17480
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

President Mahmoud Abbas called in his speech to the United Nations General
Assembly on Friday on the world community to support his bid for membership
in the UN and for statehood, describing it as support for truth.

“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,” he said.

“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,” said Abbas to a roaring
applause.

He said he had submitted an application for UN membership shortly before
making his speech, urging the UN Secretary-General “to expedite transmittal
of our request to the Security Council.” He called upon the members of the
Security Council “to vote in favor of our full membership.”

Abbas received a warm welcome and standing ovation when he took to the
podium of the UN General Assembly to make his 40-minute long speech.
Following is an official translation of the full text of the speech.

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.

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