In what Jerusalem interpreted as a sign that the Palestinian Authority wants to
tamp down the violence, President Mahmoud Abbas said on Monday that Israel wants
to create anarchy and drag the Palestinians into a confrontation, but that the
Palestinians will not play along.
Israel “wants anarchy by killing
children,” Abbas said in Ramallah on the day in which Arafat Jaradet, who died
on Saturday in an Israeli jail, was buried in his village of Sa’ir near
“We know how to act and we won’t allow them [Israel] to drag us
to their square,” he said. “They will have to bear responsibility.”
spoke as thousands took part in the funeral which, considering the concerns
voiced beforehand, passed relatively quietly.
He warned, however, that
the death of Jaradat “would not pass by easily.”
Abbas said the
Palestinians were determined to know how Jaradat died “and who did
The UN’s envoy Robert Serry, meanwhile, said the UN expected
Jaradat’s autopsy, now under way, to be followed by “an independent and
transparent investigation into the circumstances” of his death.
to the current violence in the West Bank, Abbas accused the IDF of using live
ammunition to kill Palestinian children.
He also said that he would not
allow Palestinians to remain in Israeli prisons for the rest of their lives “for
no crimes they had committed.”
The PA president reiterated his call for a
“just and comprehensive peace” that would lead to the establishment of a
Palestinian state on the pre- 1967 lines with Jerusalem as its capital. “Without
Jerusalem, there will be no peace or state,” he stressed.
officials said they hoped that Abbas’s words about not wanting to be drawn into
anarchy was a sign that he was looking for a graceful way to keep a lid on the
violence without being accused of doing Israel’s bidding.
Over the past
two days, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has sent messages to the PA
leadership, both directly and through third channels, that Israel expected the
PA not to allow the violence to spiral out of control.
The prime minister
received updates throughout the day on the situation in Judea and Samaria, and
met in the afternoon with Quartet envoy Tony Blair for a pre-arranged meeting
during which the current crisis was discussed.
Netanyahu meets routinely with
Netanyahu’s spokesman Mark Regev said Israel expected the PA to
“act responsibly” to “prevent incitement and violence that will only exacerbate
the situation.” Ultimately, he said, “not violence but peace talks are what is
needed and it is high time for the Palestinian leadership to end its boycott of
the peace talks and return to the negotiating table.”
meanwhile, stepped up their rhetorical broadsides against Israel in the
aftermath of Jaradat’s death.
Abbas’s spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudaineh,
accused Israel of seeking to disrupt US President Barack Obama’s planned visit
to the region next month. By contrast, Israeli officials have said the violence
was timed by the Palestinians ahead of Obama’s visit to ensure that the
Palestinian issue was at the top of the agenda, rather than the Iranian nuclear
march or Syria.
Accusing Israel of jeopardizing the lives of Palestinian
prisoners, Abu Rudaineh said that Israeli measures, including construction in
the settlements, would aggravate tensions in the region and hinder the success
of any peace process.
Yasser Abed Rabbo, secretary-general of the PLO,
said the PA leadership was unaware of any Israeli request to calm the situation.
He was commenting on a statement the Prime Minister’s Office issued on Sunday
saying that Netanyahu’s special envoy, Yitzhak Molcho, had asked the PA
leadership to work toward preventing violence.
“We don’t know of any such
request,” Abed Rabbo said. “No one can tell a popular movement to
Abed Rabbo claimed that Israel was trying to undermine the PA and
distort its image in the eyes of its people by talking about a request to calm
Israel, he said, did not want a strong PA that could
manage the affairs of its people.
The PLO leader held Israel fully
responsible for the current wave of violence. “This is all because of its
settlement policy and holding prisoners of freedom in its prisons and even
killing them,” he said.
Senior PA representatives attended Jaradat’s
funeral, including Issa Qaraqi, the minister for prisoners, and heads of Fatah
and commanders of the PA security forces.
Meanwhile, the US Embassy
issued a “security message for US citizens” saying that due to “demonstrations
occurring at locations across the West Bank,” the US consulate-general in
Jerusalem had “temporarily limited official travel to the West Bank by US
American citizens, according to the message, “are
advised to defer nonessential travel to and within the West Bank and to exercise
an extra measure of caution during this period.”
According to the
statement, “demonstrations, even peaceful ones, can turn violent with little or
no warning.” •