Middle East Monitor / April 19, 2021
Mahmoud Abbas has warned that Israel is on the path to becoming an apartheid state in a speech to the annual J Street Conference in America. The President of the Palestinian Authority addressed the progressive Jewish advocacy group online and spoke about the precarious situation facing Israel. He also mentioned the removal of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) from the US terrorist list and steps to re-establish ties with Washington.
“Moving away from the two-state solution will eventually lead to a de facto one-state solution, an apartheid state,” said Abbas. “[This is] something neither we nor the entire world would accept. A one-state solution will only perpetuate the conflict.”
Although Abbas warned that Israel is on the road to becoming an apartheid state if it fails to agree to a two-state solution with the Palestinians, a major Israeli human rights group has concluded that the Zionist state has already passed that threshold. In January, B’Tselem described Israel as an “apartheid” state that “promotes and perpetuates Jewish supremacy between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River.” A similar conclusion was reached by the UN in 2017.
Speaking about resuming peace talks and turning a new page in relations with Washington, Abbas said, “We are ready to resume peace negotiations with our Israeli counterpart on the basis of international legitimacy, resolutions and signed agreements, and under the auspices of the International Quartet.” The 85-year-old reiterated support for a two-state solution based on pre-June 1967 borders and international law to create an independent and sovereign Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.
The PA cut relations with the administration of former US President Donald Trump following several bitter disagreements including America’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the relocation of the US Embassy to the occupied city. Abbas explained that the PA now sought to open a new page with the Biden administration.
“However, this requires the elimination of some obstacles, the most important of which is removing the PLO name from the terrorism list pursuant to the Congress Anti-Terrorist Act of 1987,” Abbas said, with reference to the relevant legislation. US presidents have traditionally waived the application of the law, allowing for relations to continue as normal, but Abbas wants the terrorism designation to be rescinded completely.