Israeli media concentrated on his assertion that the Palestinian Authority will not collapse. He had said the same thing on December 31, but no one else noticed it then. The statement was not a reaction to Netanyahu's mentioning the possibility of the PA's collapse (as the Jerusalem Post and others assume), but from internal Arab problems within the West Bank.
The speech said nothing new at all, but it is useful to see how Palestinian Arabs are reporting on it. They are more likely to understand the real message Abbas wants to make.
Ma'an English emphasized Abbas' assertion that the PLO will decide next week whether to continue security cooperation with Israel. He claimed that it isn't his decision, but it would be decided by "The Executive Committee and the Central Committee of the PLO as well as commanders of Palestinian Authority security services." Of course, Abbas leads them. He is a dictator in every sense of the word.
Ma'an's editor spoke to Abbas a few hours before the speech. He summed up the most important points based on his conversation:
- The current wave of violence will continue indefinitely until Israel withdraws to the pre-1967 lines.
- He supports a peaceful uprising only as long as no Israeli soldiers kill attackers; otherwise each and every bullet and knife attack are Israel's fault and responsibility.
- The PA will not collapse.
- Abbas wants a national unity government, "with or without Hamas," whatever that means. He emphasized that Hamas is responsible for the Rafah crossing being closed, not Egypt.
- Abbas does not like when Turkey or Qatar send aid and money directly to Gaza, bypassing the PLO.
- The PLO is happy to sit still and wait for Arabs to outnumber Jews in the areas of British Mandate Palestine; betting that the frightened Israeli left wing will collapse the Zionist enterprise by playing on the fears of Israeli colonialism.
- Abbas is also closely following the controversies over what he termed "racist laws" in Israel, betting that the world will lose patience with "racist Israel and its crimes."
- The most important part of the speech, according to Ma'an, is the relentless emphasis on calling for an international conference to resolve the "Palestinian issue," which is "the slogan that will be emphasized for years to come."
The official Wafa news agency curiously did not seem to publish a transcript, but it did quote Abbas aide Nabil Abu Rudainah from a radio interview about the speech.
He emphasized the focus on calling an international conference to impose a solution on Israel.
Rudainah also said that without Palestinian sovereignty over Jerusalem, there will always be violence, "not only in the Middle East, but throughout the whole world."
Which sounds a whole lot like a threat to return to the PLO's heyday of international terrorism in the 1970s.