Khalil E. Jahshan: Abbas Reassures UNSC of Palestinian Commitment to Just and Lasting Peace

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas delivered today his long-anticipated speech to the UN Security Council. His objective was essentially two-fold, he wanted first and foremost to assure the international community of his unwavering commitment to reject violence and continue to pursue a peaceful solution to the conflict with Israel based on the 2-state solution and relevant international resolutions. Second, he wanted to communicate to his Palestinian constituents, at home and throughout the diaspora, the general outline of his future steps to counter the pressure generated by the political dictate by the Trump administration regarding the status of Jerusalem and its publicized removal from the agenda of potential negotiations mediated by Washington.

One could argue whether this diplomatic exercise by the Palestinian leader was useful or not, however, Abbas clearly delivered his intended message to all concerned parties. It remains to be seen whether he succeeded in changing any minds in Palestine, and particularly in Israel and the United States. Abbas was uncharacteristically blunt about the following:

  1. The Palestinians no longer view the United States as “a neutral negotiator.”
  2. It is, therefore, essential to establish “a multi-lateral international mechanism” to shepherd the implementation of any future political process.
  3. The Palestinian people are determined “to bring an end to the Israeli occupation.”
  4. The Palestinians will intensify their efforts to achieve full UN membership as they continue “working positively in building a culture of peace” by rejecting violence in the pursuit of “a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.”

Khalil E. Jahshan is Executive Director of Arab Center Washington DC.