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Abbas at UN: Palestinian flag outside, warning flag inside

The Palestinian flag has been raised at the United Nations, but the address by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas failed to rally concern about the desperate and volatile current situation.
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Israel heaved a collective sigh of relief after listening to the speech delivered by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Sept. 30 at the UN General Assembly. Almost nothing emerged of the expectations raised in recent months regarding the address, which was anticipated as being constitutive and extremely important. In the end, it was mainly confusing. Abbas did not resign; he did not expressly annul the Oslo Accord; and the bombshell he promised to drop (and did) failed to explode because it was equipped with a time-delay mechanism. The speech that was supposed to be a historic leap turned out to be a baby step. The problem is that it is another baby step toward the abyss. When Israel and the Palestinians fall into the chasm, they will recall the desperate UN General Assembly speech of 2015 and ask, Why didn’t we see the writing on the wall?

Indeed, what Abbas did before the half-empty plenum of the United Nations was to in effect write on the wall in big letters. The problem is that few bothered with the content of his words, and even fewer took it seriously. Ostensibly, Abbas’ declaration that the Palestinians will cease honoring the agreements signed with Israel should have constituted a veritable earthquake. Instead, it was a conditional earthquake: No one knows when it will happen, how it will happen, what exactly will happen or if it will happen at all. One possibility is that the speech will hover above for several days until it dissipates into thin air, like its predecessors. It is also possible, however, that it will provoke changes on the ground.

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