Newspaper article International New York Times

Abbas Says Palestinians Will Abandon Oslo Accords

Newspaper article International New York Times

Abbas Says Palestinians Will Abandon Oslo Accords

Article excerpt

The president of the Palestinian Authority accused Israel of having violated the accords, which form the basis for the two-state solition to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Demonstrating a new level of tension with Israel, President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority declared on Wednesday that it was no longer bound by the Oslo Accords and subsequent agreements that formed the basis for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In his annual General Assembly speech, Mr. Abbas accused Israel of having violated the accords and subsequent agreements that outline security, economic and other arrangements. He asserted that there was no reason that the Palestinians should remain faithful to them as long as the Israelis were not.

"We cannot continue to be bound by these signed agreements with Israel and Israel must assume fully all its responsibility as an occupying power," Mr. Abbas said.

There was no immediate reaction from the Israeli government. Officials said they were studying Mr. Abbas's speech.

There had been speculation, fed by Mr. Abbas's aides, that he would drop a "bombshell" announcement in his speech. While the announcement sounded serious, the practical effects were not immediately clear.

Khalil Shikaki, a leading Palestinian political analyst, said Mr. Abbas's declaration was "a big deal, no doubt," but would mean "absolutely nothing" on the ground "until he starts taking the steps he mentioned" to curtail security, economic, and civil coordination between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. He said Mr. Abbas would be under tremendous pressure from Palestinians to cut these ties but would probably take weeks or months to follow through.

Mr. Abbas delivered his speech against a backdrop of growing frustration among many Palestinians over the paralysis in peace negotiations with Israel, the most protracted conflict vexing the United Nations since its founding 70 years ago.

His own popularity within the Palestinian diaspora has suffered as a result. …

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