Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (R) meets UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in Ramallah October 21, 2015. .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Palestinian Authority warned on Wednesday that Israel’s “daily killings and incitement against President Mahmoud Abbas would lead to a big explosion.”
Abbas’s spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudaineh, accused Israel of placing obstacles in the way of UN and US efforts to decrease tension. He also repeated the charge that Israel is trying to change the status quo on the Temple Mount.
Meanwhile, Abbas, who met in Ramallah with UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon, called for providing international protection for the Palestinians against “assaults by the occupation army and settler terrorism.”
The Palestinians, he added, have “lost the ability to defend themselves against the settlers and army.”
Abbas accused Israel of imposing collective punishment on Palestinians, such as house demolitions and the displacement of dozens of Palestinian families.
He also accused Israel of committing “violations” against Islamic and Christian holy sites, including the Aksa Mosque. Abbas said that Israel’s measures would pave the way for the eruption of a “bitter religious conflict that we don’t want.”
Abbas said that Palestinians do not want violence or escalation.
He also denied that the Palestinians are inciting against Israel.
Ban, for his part, denounced “hateful discourse” on both sides and said Israel’s response to the recent terrorist attacks had “added to the already difficult challenges of restoring clam.”
He said that the UN would “continue to support all efforts to create the conditions to make meaningful negotiations possible” between Israel and the Palestinians.
“But ultimately, it is for the Palestinians and Israelis to chose peace,” he said. “Our most urgent challenge is to stop the current wave of violence and avoid any further loss of life.”
Ban said he “understands the frustration that comes after years of dashed hopes. But the only way to end the violence is through real and visible progress toward a political solution, including an end to the occupation and the establishment of a Palestinian state living in peace and security with Israel and its other neighbors.”
He called on Israel and the Palestinians to refrain from unilateral steps that “diminish prospects for peace, and make significant improvements on the ground aimed at building the foundations for a two-state solution.”
He said he is deeply concerned by “repeated provocations at the holy sites in Jerusalem, which have fueled the current outbreak of violence. Addressing the existing tensions is critical to reversing the trend toward escalation.”
Ban said he welcomes Israel’s repeated assurances that it has no intention of changing the historic status quo at the holy sites.
“In my meetings yesterday with Israeli officials, I also stressed that it is only through actions on the ground that perceptions will begin to change,” he said.
“Palestinian and Israeli political, community, and religious leaders must stand firm against terrorism, violence and incitement. The hateful discourse of the past weeks is deeply worrying and must be firmly denounced by all sides.
“The response by Israel has also added to the already difficult challenge of restoring calm. I emphasized to Prime Minister Netanyahu the urgency of addressing this issue. Of course, Israelis should not have to live in constant fear of the next attack,” Ban said.
“The situation in the West Bank also deserves renewed attention. Settlement activity by Israel is illegal and only inflames tensions, while reinforcing the sense that the viability of the two-state solution is disappearing.
“We cannot ignore the sense of desperation that comes with the slow evaporation of hope. We must stop the endless, needless, mindless cycle of suffering, and begin the hard work necessary to restore the belief that genuine progress toward peace is possible.
“A failure to do so will only embolden the advocates of violence and division. I urge Palestinians and Israelis alike to show courage and find their way back to a meaningful peace process,” Ban said.