Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday lashed out at those who abducted the three Israeli teens last week, accusing them of "wanting to destroy [the PA]."
"These three boys are human beings like us, and they should be returned to their families," the Palestinian leader told foreign ministers at an Organization of the Islamic Conference gathering in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Abbas added that it was in the Palestinians' interest to maintain close security coordination with the Israelis "in order to avoid a new intifada." He said that the Palestinian security services would help in the search for the missing boys.
The Palestinian leader said he has been in contact with American officials regarding the kidnapping since one of the teens also holds US citizenship.
"I told [the Americans] that it didn't matter whether he is Israeli or American," he said. "He's a human being."
Abbas accused Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu of exploiting the kidnapping as a pretext to send the military into PA-controlled territory even though the abduction took place in an area of the West Bank that is not under Palestinian jurisdiction.
Abbas conferred with Egyptian Foreign Minister Samah Shukri and the Saudi Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud.
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