(CNSNews.com) – Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas told the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday that his people resist Israeli occupation through solely peaceful means, and “never resort to violence or terrorism.”
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, addressing the gathering later in the morning, disputed that, pointing to the P.A.’s ongoing policy of paying monthly stipends to the families of imprisoned and dead terrorists.
“We are resisting the Israeli occupation by way of legitimate means that have been decided by your international organization [the U.N.],” Abbas said through an interpreter. “The only means which we use is the peaceful, popular resistance.”
“We will never resort to violence or terrorism,” he added, in a speech that also accused Israel of racism and apartheid, slammed the Trump administration’s active support for Israel at the U.N., and appealed to those countries that do not recognize the “State of Palestine” to do so.
Abbas did not refer to the controversy over the policy of paying the families of Palestinians jailed for carrying out terror attacks, or relatives of Palestinians killed while carrying out attacks – a policy which he has refused to annul, despite the passage of U.S. law linking the move to funding.
He did, however, end his address by paying “tribute to our honorable martyrs and courageous prisoners.”
In his speech Netanyahu challenged Abbas over the peaceful “resistance” claims.
“President Abbas, you proudly pay Palestinian terrorists who murder Jews. In fact, the more they slay, the more you pay,” he said.
“And you condemn Israel’s morality? You call Israel racist?”
“This is not the way to peace,” Netanyahu added, chiding the U.N. for its support for Abbas. “This is not the way to achieve the peace we all want and need and to which Israel remain committed.”
“This body should not be applauding the head of a regime that pays terrorists,” he said. “The U.N. should condemn such a despicable policy.”
In the U.S., the Taylor Force Act withholds U.S. funding to the Palestinians until the secretary of state certifies that the P.A. and PLO “have terminated payments for acts of terrorism against Israeli citizens and United States citizens to any individual, after being fairly tried, who has been imprisoned for such acts of terrorism, and to any individual who died committing such acts of terrorism, including to a family member of such individuals.”
It was incorporated into a spending bill signed by President Trump last March.
Taylor Force was a U.S. Army veteran who was stabbed to death by a Palestinian – hailed as a “martyr” by Abbas’ Fatah faction of the PLO – during a 2016 MBA study trip to Israel.