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Palestinian President Abbas calls to return to 1947 Partition lines
Speaking at the UN General Assembly, Abbas asserted that Israel should return land conquered in the 1948 War of Independence, and called on the UK to apologize for issuing the Balfour Declaration.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday called to return to the borders originally proposed in the UN's 1947 Partition Plan that divided Mandatory Palestine into two countries—a Jewish one and an Arab one.

 

 

"Israel, since 1948, has persisted in its contempt for international legitimacy by violating UNGA Resolution 181 (II): The partition resolution, which called for the establishment of two states on the historic land of Palestine according to a partition plan... Israeli forces seized more land than those allotted to them," Abbas said during his address to the UN General Assembly.

 

"Regrettably, however, the Security Council is not upholding its responsibilities to hold Israel accountable for its seizure of the territory allotted to the Palestinian State according to the partition resolution. I appeal to you read this resolution once again."

 

The Israeli War of Independence in 1948 was fought due Arab refusal to accept this initial partition plan.

 

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas speaks at the UN (Photo: AFP)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas speaks at the UN (Photo: AFP)

 

The Palestinian leader also called on the United Kingdom to apologize for issuing the Balfour Declaration in 1917, which expressed Britain's support for the establishment of a Jewish homeland in the land of Israel.

 

"We ask Great Britain, as we approach 100 years since this infamous declaration, to draw the necessary lessons and to bear its historic, legal, political, material and moral responsibility for the consequences of this declaration, including an apology to the Palestinian people for the catastrophes, misery and injustice this declaration created."

 

He also called on the UK to "act to rectify these disasters and remedy its consequences, including by the recognition of the state of Palestine... this is the least Great Britain can do."

 

Abbas added that the Declaration led to "the perpetration of the most heinous crimes against a peaceful people in their own land that never attacked anyone or partook in a war against anyone."

 

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas speaks at the UN (Photo: AFP)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas speaks at the UN (Photo: AFP)

 

At the outset of his speech, the Palestinian leader accused Israel of putting stumbling blocks to peace, while maintaining a clear conscious himself.

 

"There is no conflict between us and the Jewish religion and its people. Our conflict is with the Israeli occupation of our land," the president clarified.

 

In a seemingly veiled threat, Abbas said that "continued Israeli aggressions against our Christian and Muslim holy sites amounts to playing with fire. No one knows what will happen if these aggressions continue."

 

He called on the international community "to exert all efforts, more than any other time in the past, to bring an end to the Israeli occupation of the land of the State of Palestine, which, as you all know, is the longest and last occupation in contemporary history."

 

"The international community’s ability to advance the rights of our people and ensure their exercise of those rights and to end the oppression and injustice imposed on them for seven decades would surely constitute a unique opportunity for peace, stability and coexistence to prevail in our region and between the Palestinian and Israeli peoples," he added.

 

He ended by asserting that "there is no way to defeat terrorism and extremism, no way to achieve security and stability in our region, without ending the Israeli occupation of Palestine and ensuring the freedom and independence of the Palestinian people. As such, terrorism will end."

 

"In this 71st session of the UNGA," Abbas said, "I call on you to declare 2017 as the international year to end the Israeli occupation of our land and our people. In June 2017, half a century of this abhorrent Israeli occupation will have passed... this is the longest and last occupation in contemporary history."

 

 

 

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