Palestinian leader Abbas: “Time is running out. Window of peace is narrowing. This appears to be a last chance.”

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas address the UN General Assembly.

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas address the UN General Assembly.

(Washington, D.C.) — “Peace between Israel and the Palestinians will result in recognition of Israel from 57 Arab states, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said during his speech at the UN General Assembly in New York on  Thursday,” the Jerusalem Post reported.

“Let us envision another future… in which Israel will gain the recognition of 57 Arab and Muslim countries and where the  States of Palestine and Israel will coexist in peace, in order to realize each people’s hopes for progress and prosperity,” he said.

“Abbas spoke at length about the peace process, warning that the window of opportunity for peace is closing,” the Post noted. “Time is running out, and the window of peace is narrowing and the opportunities are diminishing. The current round of negotiations appears to be a last chance to realize a just peace,” he said.

The Post also reported that “Abbas met with US President Barack Obama on Tuesday afternoon following Obama’s speech to the UN, in which the American President also struck a tone of encouragement and renewed optimism in the face of the restarted peace process, and said that the Israel-Palestinian conflict would be one of his top two foreign policy priorities for the remainder of his term.”

Let us be praying for the Palestinian people, their leaders, and for Palestinian Christians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. They have been through much difficulty over the years. God loves the Palestinian people. Jesus Christ loves them and has a wonderful plan for their lives. Jesus said, “The thief comes to rob, kill and destroy, but I came that they might have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10) Let’s pray for the Lord to show much grace and mercy to the Palestinians. Let’s pray for peace, and hope that time is not running out. Let us pray that Israelis and Palestinians can find a way, by the grace of God, to live in freedom, opportunity, hope and religious liberty. Only the coming of the Prince of Peace will cure all ills. But let’s a pray for a season of rest and quiet and a measure of healing in the meantime.

The following are excerpts from the text of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s September 26, 2013 address to the UN General Assembly, as prepared for delivery (via the Times of Israel)

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen, I assured you last year that our quest to raise Palestine’s status does not aim to delegitimize an existing State – Israel, but to consecrate the legitimacy of a State that must exist, which is Palestine. I have also affirmed in front of you that our quest does not aim to affect the peace process, nor is it a substitute for serious negotiations. To the contrary, our quest is supportive of the path of peace and has revived a comatose process. As we have repeatedly affirmed, and as we have proven in practice, the State of Palestine, which abides by the United Nations Charter, by international humanitarian law and by the resolutions of international legitimacy, will exercise its role and uphold its responsibilities in the international system in a positive and constructive manner, and in a way that reinforces peace.

A new round of negotiations began a few weeks ago thanks to the appreciated, tireless efforts of the President of the United States, Mr. Barack Obama, and of the US Secretary of State, Mr. John Kerry. I affirm before you that we have begun these negotiations and that we shall continue them in good faith and with open minds, strong determination and an insistence on success. I assure you that we shall respect all of our commitments and foster the most conducive atmosphere for the continuation of these negotiations in a serious, intensive manner and provide the guarantees for its success, aimed at reaching a peace accord within nine months.

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen, As we engage in this new round of negotiations, we must recall and remind that we do not start in a vacuum or from point zero, nor are we lost in a labyrinth without a map, nor do we lack a compass so as to lose sight of the finish line and of the destination. The goal of peace that we seek is defined and the objective of these negotiations is clear to all, and the terms of reference, basis and foundations of the peace process and of the agreement we seek are longstanding and are within reach. As for the goal of peace, it is embodied in redressing the historic, unprecedented injustice that has befallen the Palestinian people in Al-Nakba of 1948, and the realization of a just peace, the fruits of which can be enjoyed by the Palestinian and Israeli peoples, as well as by all the peoples of our region.

The objective of the negotiations is to secure a lasting peace accord that leads immediately to the establishment of the independence of a fully sovereign State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, on all of the Palestinian lands occupied in 1967, so that it may live in peace and security alongside the State of Israel, and the resolution of the plight of Palestine refugees in a just agreed upon solution, according to United Nations resolution 194, as called for by the Arab Peace Initiative.

Here, we reaffirm that we refuse to enter into a vortex of a new interim agreement that becomes eternalized, or to enter into transitional arrangements that will become a fixed rule rather than an urgent exception. Our objective is to achieve a permanent and comprehensive agreement and a peace treaty between the States of Palestine and Israel that resolves all outstanding issues and answers all questions, which allows us to officially declare an end of conflict and claims.

The terms of reference and parameters of these negotiations, its goals, and the basis of the agreement we seek are found in your historic decision to raise Palestine’s status, as well as in the countless resolutions of this august body and the resolutions of the Security Council, and in those of the Arab League, of the European Union, of the Non-Aligned Movement, the African Union, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. In fact, over the years, these parameters have come to form an international consensus….

…….Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen, The overwhelming majority of the Palestinian people were born in Palestine and in exile after the 1948 Al-Nakba. But after the passage of 65 years, they are still its direct victims. Since the start of this year, 27 Palestinian citizens have been killed and 951 have been wounded by the bullets of the occupation, and 5000 fighters for freedom and peace are held captive in occupation prisons. So, does anyone deserve more than the Palestinian people ending this occupation and realizing a just and immediate peace? This year and in the last few years, Palestine refugees continue to pay – despite their neutrality – the price of conflict and instability in our region. Tens of thousands are forced to abandon their camps and to flee in another exodus searching for new places of exile. So, is there anyone more deserving than the Palestinian people to obtain justice, like the rest of the peoples of the world?

Since the beginning of the year, construction continues on thousands of settlement units and construction tenders have been issued for thousands of others on our occupied land, while yet more, large areas of land are expropriated or declared off limits, and 850 homes and structures have been demolished. Palestinians are forbidden from planting their own land and from using the majority of the area of our country. They are prevented from using the water of their own country to irrigate their crops. The wall and checkpoints continue to tear apart the lives of the Palestinian people and to destroy the economy. The siege grows tighter, along with attacks and oppressive discriminating measures against Occupied Jerusalem, its holy places and its citizens. In Gaza, an unjust blockade continues to be imposed on our people. So, is there anyone more deserving than the Palestinian people to gain freedom and independence now? Since the beginning of the year, 708 terrorist attacks have been perpetrated by settlers against our mosques and churches, and against olive trees, farming fields and homes and property of Palestinians. Is there any doubt in anyone’s mind that the Palestinian people are the most in need of security?

Is there a nobler mission on the international community’s agenda than realizing just peace in the land of the monotheistic faiths, the nativity of Jesus Christ – peace be upon him, the ascent of the Prophet Muhammad – peace be upon him, and the resting place of Abraham, the father of the prophets, peace be upon him?…..

To read the full text of the speech, please click here.

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