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Palestinian President Abbas Says He's No Longer Bound By Oslo Accords

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas speaks at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City on Wednesday.
Andrew Burton
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Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas speaks at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City on Wednesday.

Updated at 1:53 p.m. ET.

During his speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he was no longer bound by the Oslo Accords.

"As long as Israel refuses to commit to the agreements signed with us, which render us an authority without real powers, and as long as Israel refuses to cease settlement activities and to release of the fourth group of Palestinian prisoners in accordance with our agreements, they leave us no choice but to insist that we will not remain the only ones committed to the implementation of these agreements, while Israel continuously violates them," Abbas said.

The Oslo agreements, which were signed with Israel in the mid '90s, are the basis for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian crisis. It's unclear what kind of on-the-ground implications Abbas' declarations could have.

The AP reports:

"It was Abbas' 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 hard-line policies."

The New York Times adds:

"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."

Reporting from Jerusalem, NPR's Emily Harris reports that Abbas' speech also comes on the first day the Palestinian flag was raised outside the U.N. in New York.

Emily filed this report for our Newscast unit:

"Palestine was recognized by the U.N. General Assembly as a nonmember observer state three years ago.

"A few weeks ago, the same assembly approved flying the Palestinian flag with the flags of U.N. member nations at the organization's offices. Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, said it is one of several symbolic steps that aim to consolidate Palestinian statehood.

"Abbas called it a peaceful and proud gesture. Israel has decried the move as a photo op that avoids the difficult decisions to reach real peace."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
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