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The two speeches at the United Nations General Assembly earlier this week by the Israeli prime minister and the Palestinian president captured the depressing, stalemated and increasingly violent condition of the century-long Palestinian-Israeli conflict.My concern here is with the sad speech by Palestine Authority and Palestine Liberation Organization President Mahmoud Abbas. In his decade in office since the death of the former president, Yasser Arafat, Abbas has repeatedly failed at every moment when he could have achieved several critical goals: to rally the scattered Palestinian people so as to bolster the leadership's negotiations with Israel and others; to achieve a united nationalist political program that envisages peaceful coexistence with Israel in adjacent states, based on the 2002 Arab Peace Plan that has been repeatedly reaffirmed by all Arab states; to generate widespread Arab, Islamic and international support for a unified Palestinian leadership and political strategy; and, to promote developmental policies and political agreements that improve the quality of life of Palestinians living under Israeli control in the West Bank, Gaza and Arab East Jerusalem, as well as Palestinian refugees living in nearby Arab countries, often under difficult conditions.
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