AJC Deplores Abbas Speech to European Parliament, Refusal to Meet Israeli President Rivlin in Brussels
June 23, 2016 – New York – AJC, an organization that has spent decades seeking to advance Arab-Israeli peace, decried Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s incendiary address against Israel before the European Parliament, as well as his refusal to meet with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin in Brussels.
“Once again, President Abbas is the great disappointer,” said AJC CEO David Harris. “Instead of returning to direct peace talks with Israel, Abbas abused an international platform to deliver yet another tirade full of invectives and falsehoods against Israel.”
“Abbas’s malicious attack contradicts any attempt he made to verbally offer a hand for peace,” Harris said. “Indeed, Abbas demonstrably held back his hand both by his remarks, and by rejecting an EU request that he meet with President Rivlin.”
Both Abbas and Rivlin were invited to address the Parliament, as the EU seeks a higher profile in efforts to move the stalled peace process.
In his address, Abbas made the patently absurd declaration that “the occupation” is the source of global terror. “Once the occupation ends, terrorism will disappear, there will be no more terrorism in the Middle East, or anywhere else in the world,” he said.
“Remarkably, European legislators held up Abbas as an opponent of terrorism, even as he and his government regularly lionize Palestinian terrorists,” said Harris.
Abbas also accused Israel of “turning our country into an open-air prison,” and repeated an age-old and deadly anti-Semitic canard that rabbis in Israel wish to poison Palestinian water.
Harris concluded: “In sum, Israelis, and Palestinians who truly seek a negotiated comprehensive peace accord based on a two-state agreement, continue to await the day when Abbas becomes a leader committed to advancing the peace process, and not continually undermining it, or else gives way to other Palestinians ready for an enduring agreement with Israel.”