JERUSALEM – In an unusually harsh speech, President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday gave Israel one year to end its occupation of territories the Palestinians want for a future state. He threatened to withdraw recognition of Israel – a cornerstone of three decades of failed peace efforts – if it failed to do so.
Abbas delivered the vague ultimatum in a long, prerecorded address to the U.N. General Assembly in which he accused Israel of “apartheid” and “ethnic cleansing,” explosive terms rarely employed by the 85-year-old leader, who has long been committed to a two-state solution.
“If the Israeli occupation authorities continue to entrench the reality of one apartheid state as is happening today, our Palestinian people and the entire world will not tolerate such a situation,” Abbas said.
Biden meets with 'Quad' leaders
Meeting with the leaders of India, Australia and Japan, President Joe Biden declared Friday that the U.S. and other members of the Indo-Pacific alliance known as “the Quad” are showing they “know how to get things done” in an increasingly complicated corner of the globe.
Biden and his fellow leaders – Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga – are all grappling with a rising China that Biden has accused of coercive economic practices and unsettling military maneuvering.
Environmentalists rally in Germany
Tens of thousands of environmental activists staged a rally outside Germany's parliament Friday, two days before the country holds a national election, to demand that politicians take stronger action to curb climate change.
The protest outside the Reichstag in Berlin was part of a string of rallies around the world, from Japan, Indian and Nigeria to Greece, Italy and Britain – amid dire warnings that the planet faces dangerous temperature rises unless greenhouse gas emissions are cut sharply in coming years. Across Germany alone, hundreds of thousands of marchers joined similar protests in several cities and towns.
Pressure urged for Afghan women
Aid to Afghanistan should be made conditional to ensure the protection of women's rights and access to education under the rule of the Taliban government, a panel of high-level speakers said at the United Nations on Friday.
U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed said that “by and large, we're very concerned” about measures restricting girls' access to education since the Taliban took control of the country following the U.S. withdrawal and collapse of the Afghan government in August.
“I think the international community here, first and foremost, has to draw on the expertise, on the leadership of Afghan women ... to stop the reversal, to remain in school,” she said in the U.N. panel that focused on ways to support girls education in Afghanistan.