Abbas says he has instructed Palestinian security forces, factions to lower tensions

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October 6, 2015 15:52

At PLO meeting, Abbas says that he has intimated to Israel that Palestinians don't want escalation of violence.

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Mahmoud Abbas

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is photographed after speaking at the Egypt Economic Development Conference in Sharm el-Sheikh. (photo credit:BRIAN SNYDER / REUTERS)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Tuesday he does not want a security and military escalation, and reiterated his commitment to signed agreements with Israel.

Abbas, who was speaking during a meeting of the PLO Executive Committee in his office in Ramallah, said he has instructed the PA security forces to work toward preventing further escalation.

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“We don’t want escalation, but we want to defend ourselves,” he said.

“We were not the ones to initiate [the latest wave of violence] and Israel must stop and accept the hand extended to it. We want to reach a political solution through peaceful means.”

Abbas said he was prepared to return to the negotiating table with Israel if the Israeli government freezes settlement construction and releases 30 Palestinian prisoners in accordance with an agreement reached through US Secretary of State John Kerry.

“We are prepared to discuss the agreements that have been violated by Israel since the Oslo Accords,” Abbas added. “We are prepared for negotiations. We are committed to the agreements. But we can’t be the only ones who are abiding by them. If Israel does not want these agreements, then we don’t want to implement them.”

Abbas said he did not understand the reason behind Israel’s recent actions “because the Palestinians haven’t done or initiated anything against the Israelis.”

Following the meeting, the Executive Committee called on the UN secretary-general to take measures to provide international protection for the Palestinians, claiming that Israel’s recent measures against terrorism and violence were designed to destroy the two-state solution.

Accusing the Israeli government of declaring war on the Palestinians, the PLO committee urged Palestinians to close ranks, abandon their differences and work toward foiling Israel’s “scheme to plunge the region into violence.”

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