Abbas calls Oslo Accords into question
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called the Oslo Accords into question in his speech before the UN General Assembly on Wednesday, arguing that Israel was continually breaching the agreements. Some commentators accuse Abbas of lacking the will for dialogue. Others call on Israel to stop the West Bank settlements.
Palestinian president alienating everyone
Palestinian president Abbas seems to lack any will at all to start a dialogue, the centre-left daily La Repubblica laments: "The speech caused confusion even in Fatah, the president's own party. Mahmoud Abbas made no mention of resuming the peace talks. He confined himself to denouncing the injustices. But this clearly won't be enough to prompt Israel to give up the settlement policy it has pursued for 40 years in the West Bank. This is a sign that the patriarch's autumn has begun. A sign of a presidency worn down after not achieving any victories worth mentioning in eleven years of rule. The 80-year-old has repeatedly brought up the possibility of his resigning. But then he stays on and rules with an iron fist. He tolerates neither criticism nor objections, and this is why his circle of close confidantes has dwindled to just a handful of people."
Responsibility for peace also lies with Israel
Israel urgently needs to change its settlement policy, the daily Kristeligt Dagblad writes commenting on Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas's announcement that the Palestinians would no longer be bound by the Oslo Accords: "Both parties share the blame and without doubt Israel is right to fear that a Palestinian state could be taken over by Islamist forces like Hamas. Both Israel's settlement policy and its military occupation of the West Bank hurt the country itself. Not just because international support for Israel is dwindling but also because the illegal settlements are damaging to the country's soul and its self-identity. … If Israel's security depends on full control of the West Bank, then Israel should send soldiers there, not settlers who make it impossible for the Palestinians to organise their own territory and found businesses. … It is mainly up to Israel to do more for peace."
Nothing but empty threats
The threat of termination of the Oslo Accords won't have any repercussions, the news portal Spiegel Online believes: "Abbas was primarily addressing his own people when he announced on the international stage that his 'patience' was at an end. The long-term president is more unpopular with his population than ever before. ... Abbas's threats are largely empty. His statement about the 1993 Oslo Accords remained vague - and put the ball back in Israel's court. There was no obligation to hold to the Agreement as long as Israel refused to stop the settlement of the occupied territories, he said. But he didn't give an ultimatum. And anyway there haven't been any peace talks since the failed initiative by US Secretary of State John Kerry. The Palestinian leadership is increasingly unwilling to see negotiations with Israel as a true chance for peace."