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Palestinian leader Abbas says he is no longer bound by pacts with Israel

Published 30/09/2015

Palestinian leader President Mahmoud Abbas addresses the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly. (AP)
Palestinian leader President Mahmoud Abbas addresses the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly. (AP)

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has declared that he is no longer bound by agreements signed with Israel.

In a speech before the United Nations General Assembly, he said that as Israel's refusal to commit to the agreements signed "render us an authority without real powers".

Mr Abbas added: "We cannot continue to be bound by these agreements."

It was Mr Abbas's most serious warning yet to Israel that he might walk away from engagement with Israel and dissolve the Palestinian Authority.

He stopped short of accompanying his threat with a deadline.

He had threatened to drop a "bombshell" in the speech - prompting speculation he would sever ties with Israel over its settlement expansion and other hardline policies.

Mr Abbas's tough talk could be an attempt to mask his political weakness.

Hopes of setting up a Palestinian state have been derailed, and there are calls for the leader to resign and dissolve the Palestinian Authority.

Without a specific deadline for taking those steps, Mr Abbas left himself room for diplomatic manoeuvre to refocus the attention of the international community on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In his speech, he accused Israel of "repeated, systematic incursions upon Al-Aqsa Mosque aimed at imposing a new reality," warning that such actions create an explosive situation.

"It is no longer useful to waste time in negotiations for the sake of negotiations; what is required is to mobilise international efforts to oversee an end to the occupation in line with the resolutions of international legitimacy," he said.

"Until then, I call upon the United Nations to provide international protection for the Palestinian people in accordance with international humanitarian law."

In a harshly worded essay ahead of his address to the United Nations, the Palestinian president said a new multilateral approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is needed since direct negotiations with Israel have repeatedly failed.

Mahmoud Abbas said the model should be based instead on the type of negotiations that took place in the Balkans, Libya and Iran.

Several rounds negotiations, often with American mediation, have failed reach a peace accord and Abbas shunned renewing them.

"The peace process must be multilateral. The same pattern of negotiations imposed for years will not work because Israel is the occupying power," he wrote.

"We cannot directly negotiate with a power that has this level of control and exhibits such contempt for the rights and existence of our people."

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