For the first time, Abbas raised the spectre of genocide: Israel was accused of a “new war of genocide perpetrated against the Palestinian people”. And while doing so, affirmed the Palestinian right of resistance against Israel’s occupation.
What may be most significant here is that the formal authority structure representing the Palestinian people on the global stage seemed to be in temporary sync with pro-Palestinian civil society activists around the world. For instance, the Russell Tribunal (RT) at an Extraordinary Session held in Brussels on September 24, focused on charges of genocide directed against Israel in connection with Protective Edge. RT found Israel guilty of the distinct crime of “incitement to genocide” under the 1948 Genocide Convention as well as aggravated crimes against humanity. The testimony at Brussels established strong circumstantial evidence of a genocidal intent on Israel’s part. Nevertheless, this evidence failed to convince the jury that Israel’s leaders possessed the specific intent required to establish the crime of genocide…
Israeli poet and Israel Prize laureate, Nathan Zach, defended Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas’ speech that described the latest Israeli occupation assault on Gaza by “genocide.” In his interview with Army Radio, Zach said that Netanyahu’s speech was “filled with lies” while Abbas’ “spoke the truth…”
Zach made a storm in the media when he defended Abbas’ use of the word “genocide”, saying that Abbas’ has been demanding fruitful negotiations for a whole year now, but Israel was pushing and delaying any solutions. “To some extent, whenever someone is angry after having been strung along for over a year with fruitless negotiations, then one tends to use words that aren’t so effective,” he said. “For Abbas, that word was genocide, or a mini genocide.”
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Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said in a Sunday interview with an Israeli broadcaster that the word “genocide” used by President of the Palestinian National Unity Government Mahmoud Abbas during his recent address at the UN General Assembly was appropriate, saying Abbas was “naming things by their name…” He went on to explain that “naming things by their name is not extreme,” underlining that it was unacceptable that using the term “genocide” had enraged the US and Israel. “Ignoring facts doesn’t mean they don’t exist,” said the Palestinian official in response to the criticism. He added, “In my opinion [the criticism] is inappropriate, not responsible and unacceptable.”
The development came after US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki claimed on Friday that Abbas’ speech “included offensive characterizations” that the US rejects.
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