The Secretary-General of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Saeb Erekat, stated Thursday that the speech by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday victimizes the criminal and blames the victim.

Erekat said that real peace requires ending the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine, in addition to recognizing and implementing International Law. He added that Netanyahu and his government insist on misleading the international community with ongoing and even exposed lies, and continue to criminalize and blame the victims in order to protect the illegal Israeli colonialist occupation of the State of Palestine.

In Erekat’s statement, he said, “Netanyahu’s speech is a combination of old and well-known talking points that conclude on victimizing the criminal and blaming the victim. His speech further exposes Israel’s systematic denial of our right to exist, to live in freedom and to celebrate our national identity.

“The reality on the ground in occupied Palestine is a manifestation of what Israel is: a colonial- apartheid state. Despite the oppression, racism and daily violence, the proud and resilient people of Palestine will continue to remain steadfast and to believe in the achievement of our inalienable rights, to live in freedom and in dignity. For the Israeli government, not only the issues of Jerusalem and the Palestinian refugees are off the table, but also Palestine’s very existence.”

The Palestinian official added that achieving peace requires full commitment and recognition of International Law, and all related United Nations resolutions, in addition to recognizing our people’s right to self-determination, the Right of Return of all refugees as stated by UN Resolution 194, and establishing an independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

This follows a statement the previous day by Erekat, in response to Trump’s UN speech, that Trump, through his speech, has shown that the U.S. has closed the door to peace.

In his statement about Trump’s speech the previous day, Erekat stated, “President Trump has confirmed that his administration has closed the doors to peace and cannot play a role in peacemaking by stating that his decision to move his embassy to Israel to Jerusalem, in violation of Security Council resolution 478, was a ‘recognition of reality’. Rather, what his administration did, and continues to do, is to reward and incentivize violations of international law, colonization, war crimes, and apartheid.

“His rejection of the International Criminal Court is a rejection of international law. It should be noted that Israel, the occupying power, did not implement any of the UN Security Council and General Assembly resolutions. The reality today is that due to the one-sided pro-Israel decisions of the US administration, peace between Palestinians and Israelis have been derailed.

“Peace is a real need for both Palestinian, Israelis and the people of the region, and can be achieved with the realization of the two states solution, the State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital, to live in peace and security side by side the state of Israel on the 1967 borders.”

Erekat served as the chief negotiator for the Palestinian-Israeli peace talks over several decades.