Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas threatened to drop a "bombshell" ahead of his speech to the UN General Assembly today, leading to speculation that he might sever all ties with Israel. He didn't go that far, reports AP, but his speech made clear how bleak Israeli-Palestinian relations are. Abbas declared that the Palestinians are no longer bound by the 1995 Oslo Accords that were supposed to lay the groundwork for a two-state solution, reports the Washington Post. Israel hasn't been honoring them, so the Palestinians shouldn't have to, Abbas declared. In fact, he accused Israel of actively working against a two-state solution, citing in particular its expansion of West Bank settlements. "We cannot continue to be bound by these signed agreements with Israel, and Israel must assume fully all its responsibility as an occupying power." The full ramifications of this? Apparently, we'll have to stay tuned:
- New York Times: "While the announcement sounded serious, the practical effects were not immediately clear."
- Jerusalem Post: "It was not clear what the practical implications of his declaration to the General Assembly would be."
- The AP: "Abbas' 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, Abbas left himself room for diplomatic maneuver to refocus the attention of the international community on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."
- The Post: "The effects on the ground of Abbas’ declaration are unclear but it comes as American efforts to broker a settlement have all but ended and amid growing anger among Palestinians at the lack of progress."
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