Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' jolting charge that he is no longer bound by agreements signed with Israel is a "poisonous" statement, but not likely a declaration of war, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, tells Newsmax TV.
"This is an act of desperation by someone who's been unable to get back into the international headlines because of all the other things happening in the Arab and Muslim world," Cooper said Thursday to J.D. Hayworth and Miranda Khan on "Newsmax Prime."
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"He's someone who's sort of screaming, you better come in and save the situation before I jump off. Most people responded with a big yawn. He's in the eleventh year of his four-year term [and] 80 years old."
This week, Abbas told world leaders at the United Nations
that Israel's refusal to commit to signed agreements and pressing forward with hardline policies "render us an authority without real powers."
"As long as Israel refuses to cease settlement activities and to the release of the fourth group of Palestinian prisoners in accordance with our agreements, they leave us no choice but to insist that we will not remain the only ones committed to the implementation of these agreements, while Israel continuously violates them," Abbas said.
Cooper said Abbas' rhetoric was pointless.
"What should have been a great day for the Palestinian movement with the symbolic flag going up at the U.N., instead, he turned poisonous by [him] throwing the book at the Israelis," Cooper said.
"That's not how you prepare your neighbor to sit down and make peace. So most Israelis and believe it or not, a large percentage of Palestinians, are waiting for some new leadership to come forward and to do the right thing.
You know it was a terrible speech when the United States State Department even condemned it. So a lot of bombast."
Cooper said the speech did not appear to be a declaration of war against the Jewish State, but added there has been more Islamic extremism and harassment of Jews going to prayer services.
"They prefer not to have their lives intertwined with the Israelis," he said.
"But given a choice between their current situation and what's going on in Syria, in Libya, in the other countries, the Palestinians know they should be making a much stronger effort to come up with something that will get their 'independence' and also allow them to live in peace with their Jewish neighbors."
Cooper said the raising of the Palestinian flag for the first time at the U.N. does not signify that the intergovernmental organization has abandoned Israel.
"It shows it's one of the problems, actually one of the blockages, towards peace," he said.
"Meaning that a lot of Palestinian leaders, including Abbas, now believe that they can have a guaranteed path to a full-fledged state without any of the heavy lifting, without actually committing to the Oslo Accord," he said.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center is a global human rights group that researches the Holocaust in a historic and contemporary context and confronts anti-Semitism, hate and terrorism.
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