Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday used a keynote speech at the United Nations in New York to assert that Israel was an “obstruction” to the “cohesive development of all peoples” in the Middle East, drawing a sharp rebuke from the Jewish state’s ambassador to the world body.
Abbas was speaking as the “State of Palestine” — officially a “non-member observer state” at the UN since 2012 — assumed the chairmanship from Egypt of a bloc of 134 states at the UN that purports to represent the “collective economic interests ” of the world’s developing nations. Still known as the “Group of 77 (G-77)” after the number of states that originally founded it in 1964, the bloc includes several nations that do not recognize Israel’s right to exist, including Iran, Syria and Iraq.
In remarks in which he addressed the G-77’s main concerns in only the most general terms, Abbas took care to attack Israel whenever he found the right opening to do so.
“Palestine cannot be an exception,” Abbas stated, during a passage of his speech that discussed sustainable development goals. “We also suffer under the yoke of a foreign occupation.”