Mahmoud Abbas: Palestinians 'cannot continue to be bound' by Oslo Accords

Story highlights

  • Security coordination between PLO and Israel is canceled, PLO official says
  • Benjamin Netanyahu's office says Mahmoud Abbas' speech "encourages incitement and lawlessness"
  • Abbas accuses Israel of "continuously" violating the Oslo Accords

New York City (CNN)Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel of not committing to peace agreements known as the Oslo Accords and declared that Palestinians "cannot continue to be bound by these agreements."

"They leave us no choice but to insist that we will not remain the only ones committed to the implementation of these agreements, while Israel continuously violates them," Abbas said Wednesday in a speech to the U.N. General Assembly.
Abbas referred to "Palestine" as a "state under occupation."
"We therefore declare that we cannot continue to be bound by these agreements (Oslo Accords) and that Israel must assume all of its responsibilities as an occupying power, because the status quo cannot continue," Abbas said.
The consequences of Abbas' declaration remain unclear, and its practical effects on the relations between Israelis and Palestinians are uncertain, including its effects on security coordination between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
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Whether the implications of Abbas' speech would play out differently in the West Bank and in Gaza, where the Palestinian Authority's governing Fatah party has little influence, also remains to be seen.
Hamas, which rules Gaza, called on Abbas to end all agreements with Israel, but a deep divide has thwarted political reconciliation between the two territories, each led by its respective group.
Mustafa Barghouti, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization Central Council, asserted that all forms of security coordination between Palestinians and Israelis have now been canceled.
Palestinians will begin using nonviolent resistance while calling for sanctions against Israel, Barghouti said.
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said Abbas' speech "was deceitful and encourages incitement and lawlessness in the Middle East."
Netanyahu's office stressed that "Israel is strictly maintaining the status quo on the Temple Mount and is committed to continuing to do so in accordance with the agreements," according to a statement.
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Netanyahu's office also called on the Palestinian Authority and Abbas to "act responsibly" and join Israel in direct negotiations without preconditions.
"The fact that he -- time and again -- has refused to do so is the best possible proof of the fact he does not intend to reach a peace agreement," according to the statement by the Israeli Prime Minister's office.
The Oslo Accords are a series of peace agreements between Israel and the Palestinians signed in the 1990s, and they have served as the basis of cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians with an ostensible ultimate aim of a two-state solution.
The agreements, negotiated in secret in a series of meetings in London and Norway, were first signed on September 13, 1993, and established a framework for future negotiations, calling for a "comprehensive peace settlement" within five years.
The Oslo Accords also established economic and security coordination between Israelis and Palestinians, leaving the questions of borders and Jerusalem for future negotiations. Many observers say, however, the accords were never fully implemented.
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Yousef Munayyer, a policy analyst at the Arab Center of Washington and executive director of the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, raised questions in a CNN opinion column about whether the two-state solution is now dead.
"Now, with a right-wing Israeli government firmly in power and no serious engagement from the international community to rein in Israel's expansionist ambitions, Palestinians understand that the statehood project is at best a failure, and at worst a cover for continued Israeli colonialism in Palestinian territory," Munayyer wrote.
Before his speech before the United Nations, Abbas had indicated he would be making a "bombshell" announcement.
His declaration came on a day when the Palestinian flag was raised for the first time at the U.N. building, in the Rose Garden.
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Traditionally, only official member states had the right to have their flag up in front of the U.N. tower. The Palestinian Authority has nonmember observer status.
But the General Assembly earlier this month voted overwhelmingly to allow the Palestinians and the Vatican, another nonmember observer, to add theirs to the collection.
The Palestinians see this as another step toward solidifying their presence in the international arena.
But Israel, one of the eight countries that voted against the measure, has dismissed the Palestinian flag-raising as a photo op. The Vatican's flag went up Friday without ceremony.