Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday reacted to ongoing
protests against the high cost of living in the Palestinian territories by
attacking Israel and Hamas.
He also said that he would go the UN General
Assembly on September 27 “to consult with friends” about upgrading the status of
a Palestinian state in the international agency to non-member.
Abbas did not say that he would submit a request to the General Assembly in this
regard. No date has been set for filing the application to the UN, he
Abbas’s remarks were made during a press conference he held in
Abbas rejected calls for firing PA Prime Minister Salam
“I’m the first to be held responsible for the situation in the
West Bank and Fayyad is part of the Palestinian Authority,” he said. “He should
not be held fully responsible.”
Abbas reiterated his determination to
renew his statehood bid at the UN later this month.
“We are going to the
UN to say that we are a state that is subject to the Fourth Geneva Convention
and there are 133 countries that recognize a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as
its capital,” he declared. “Why doesn’t Washington want us to go to the UN?”
Abbas accused Hamas of seeking to establish an Islamic emirate in the Gaza
He also indirectly criticized Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy for
receiving Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh in Cairo last month.
who dealt with Haniyeh as a prime minister were deepening divisions among the
Palestinians, the PA president said. “Ismail Haniyeh is not the prime minister,”
There were about 2,000 tunnels between the Gaza Strip and Egypt
that had produced 1,000 Palestinian millionaires, he said.
half of the PA’s budget was going to the Gaza Strip, Abbas held Hamas
responsible for the failure of efforts to end the power struggle with his Fatah
He also held Israel responsible for the economic
The Palestinians, he added, were not free “because we are being
surrounded from all directions. The borders are under their [Israel’s] control.”
Israel was hindering efforts to achieve a two-state solution by continuing to
build in the settlements and east Jerusalem, he said. “Israel wants to Judaize
Jerusalem and all the Palestinian territories,” he charged.
complained that the Palestinians were unable to exploit 60 percent of their
lands because of Israeli restrictions – a reference to Area C of the West Bank
that is under Israel’s exclusive control.
He also hinted that the PA
might cancel the 1994 Paris Economic Agreement between the PLO and
Abbas warned that he would take “unthinkable” steps if Israel
continued with its current policies, but did not elaborate.
are sweeping the West Bank would be allowed to continue as long as they were
peaceful, he said, but he warned that the PA would not allow the protests to
plunge the Palestinian territories into chaos.
Abbas revealed that a man
who tried to set himself on fire in Ramallah last week because of the economic
situation had actually poured water, and not gasoline, on his body. Abbas said
that the man, who claimed that he “had nothing,” had received financial aid from
the Palestinians and from Jordan.
The PA president responded to Foreign
Minister Avigdor Liberman’s campaign against him by declaring: “Liberman is
asking me to leave and I will not leave. We will not repeat the mistake we made
in 1948 and 1967. We are here to stay in our homeland.”
Sha’ath, a senior Fatah official, also dismissed calls for the resignation of
Fayyad, saying such a move would not help solve the economic
“Fayyad is not an angel and he may have made mistakes,” Sha’ath
said. “But he is not the reason for our poverty and suffering and why we cannot
travel to Jerusalem and Gaza.”
Meanwhile, scores of angry protesters
surrounded Fayyad’s car in Ramallah, holding him responsible for the crisis and
calling on him to resign.
The incident took place outside the studio of a
local radio station, where Fayyad had been interviewed about the crisis. PA
policemen had to interfere to ensure Fayyad’s safe exit from the
During the interview, the PA prime minister reiterated his
readiness to quit if such a move would help solve the crisis.
to Abbas’s remarks, Hamas accused the PA president of trying to avoid
responsibility for the crisis.
Salah Bardaweel, a top Hamas official in
the Gaza Strip, said Abbas was trying to divert attention from his problems at
home by launching an attack on the Islamist movement and others.
accusation reflected his “bankruptcy,” said Taher a-Nunu, spokesman for the