Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israel is carrying out “ethnic cleansing” against the Palestinians and does not want peace, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday evening.
Delivering his annual address marking the Muslim holiday Id al-Adha, he severely criticized Israel days after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the Palestinian leadership supports a policy of ethnic cleansing of Jews.
“[Israel] is advancing settlement construction, ethnic cleansing, premeditated killings and violation of holy sites, turning it into an object of criticism across the entire world,” Abbas said, sitting in the Mukata presidential compound, the headquarters of the PA, in Ramallah.
“The government of the occupation is isolated internationally because it does not want to progress even a step forward in the peace process,” he said.
The Palestinian leadership wants true peace, Abbas said.
“We are not ones to launch media campaigns for peace, but rather we are calling to bring it to fruition on the ground,” he said, adding that his government supports “the establishment of an independent Palestinian state along 1967 borders with occupied Jerusalem as its capital.”
Deputy Minister for Diplomacy Michael Oren told The Jerusalem Post
Abbas’s claim that Israel is carrying out ethnic cleansing is “emphatically untrue and a blood libel.
“The Palestinian population of the West Bank and Jerusalem has grown manifoldly,” he said, adding, “His statements are an insult to Arab populations that have been ethnically cleansed.”
Earlier on Sunday, Saeb Erekat, the secretary-general of the PLO Executive Committee, told the Voice of Palestine, the official PA radio station, that “the world must start prosecuting the [Israeli] government,” suggesting that “condemnations are no longer sufficient.”
Abbas and other Palestinian leaders will leave for New York City later this week to attend the 71st meeting of the United Nations General Assembly.
In recent weeks, Palestinian leaders have suggested that they would like to take action against Israel at the UN. Nabil Abu Rudeinah, official spokesperson of the PA presidency, said just over a week ago that the Palestinian leadership would like to expedite a Security Council resolution against settlement construction.
“The Palestinian leadership in coordination with the Arab League foreign ministers will be contacting international parties to expedite the holding of a Security Council meeting to issue a resolution calling for a settlement freeze,” Abu Rudeinah told Wafa, the official PA news site.
Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his envoys invited Netanyahu and Abbas to meet in Russia. Both parties accepted the invitation last Thursday, according Russia’s Interfax news agency, but no date for the proposed meeting has been set.
US-sponsored negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians collapsed in May 2014.