In his 40-minute address to the UN General Assembly, Mahmoud Abbas positioned himself squarely as a disciple of the blood-soaked legacy and agenda of Yasser Arafat. All that was missing was Arafat's military uniform.
Early on in his speech, Abbas proudly recalled Arafat's 1974 threatening words when he stood at the podium of the General Assembly, with a gun holster in one hand and an olive branch in the other -- "Do not let the olive branch fall from my hand." The clear implication being that Israel's choice was and remains between surrender to all Palestinian demands or face a wave of violence
Abbas, like Arafat, spoke in my-way-or-the-highway terms. There wasn't a scintilla of flexibility in his address. Just the opposite:
--In dealing with the peace process, Abbas put the entire blame on Israel for lack of negotiations.
--At the same, he demanded one-sided Israeli concessions, including a building freeze in Jewish areas of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, before he would deign to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.
--His speech was riddled with historical falsehoods, especially the assertion that only the Palesitnians have long-time ties to the Holy Land, erasing in one swoop 3,000 years of Jewish life in the Holy Land.
--In recalling Israel's War of Independence in 1948, he painted it as an act of aggression against an indigenous Arab society, omitting any mention that Israel had to defend itself against half a dozen Arab armies that attacked the nascenet Jewish state with the declared aim of destroying it at its birth.
--In any peace deal, he demanded all of Gaza, all of the West Bank and all of East Jerusalem, with no land swaps. This means surrender of Jerusalem's Old City, including its Jewish Quarter and the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest site, to Palestinian sovereignty
--The Holy Land? Sacred only to Muslims and Christians. No Jewish history there at all.
--With that kind of mindset, there was no surprise when he declared that he would not recognize Israel as a Jewish state -- quite a feat especially at the UN, which in its 1947 two-state partition resolution, called for creation of a "Jewish state" and an "Arab state." There were no Palestinians at the time, which may explain why Abbas skipped that bit of history.
--He slammed Israel's anti-terrorism security fence as a "racist annexation wall," while calling for the release of terrorists from Israeli jails.
--And, among his many chutzpaths, he praised his "unity" agreement with Hamas terrorists in Gaza, condemning Israel's counter-terrorism offensive in Gaza three years ago, without mentioning the thousands of rockets fired from Gaza on civilian targets in Israel.
"This was a counter-productive and harsh speech that offered nothing to Israelis," summed up Richard Haas, chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations. "It was very disappoining."
Which also is an understatement.