Abbas' U.N. speech prompts outcry

Sept. 28, 2012 at 12:45 PM
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JERUSALEM, Sept. 28 (UPI) -- Israeli Vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya'alon said Friday Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has "never prepared his people for peace" with Israel.

Ya'alon's comments were in response to Abbas' speech Thursday at the United Nations, The Jerusalem Post reported.

"[Abbas] has never prepared his people for peace with Israel and his libelous speech in the U.N. yesterday is additional proof that he has no intention of doing so," Ya'alon said.

Abbas accused Israel of pursuing a "policy of war, occupation and settlement colonization" and rejecting the two-state solution.

The speech prompted angry remarks from Israeli officials, including Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who called the speech "incitement" and slammed Abbas' use of the words "ethnic cleansing" and "nakba" -- "catastrophe" -- to describe the situation in the West Bank.

Peace Now Executive Director Yariv Oppenheimer said that Abbas' speech might not have been pleasant for Israeli ears to hear "but the situation is not pleasant."

"I hope it won't be the last time that we will hear a Palestinian leader calling out for peace with Israel and calling out for a two-state solution," he said.

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