Stone-throwing Palestinians clash with Israeli police in Sur Baher, a village in the suburbs of east Jerusalem.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Palestinian Authority government on Saturday stepped up its attacks on Israel, holding it responsible for “crimes” against Palestinians by the IDF and settlers.
A statement released in Ramallah accused the Israeli government of providing a cover and legalizing “crimes and violations against innocent Palestinians under the watching eye of the world.”
Saying that 17 Palestinians have been killed and more than 1,000 wounded since the beginning of October, the PA government called on the UN Human Rights Council to quickly dispatch a commission of inquiry to the region “to investigate all crimes perpetrated by Israel against our people.”
The government repeated its charge that Israel is carrying out “field executions” against Palestinians and urged the international community to put pressure on Israel to stop its “crimes and violations.”
Meanwhile, Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia are reported to be exerting pressure on the PA leadership to work toward calming the situation and preventing further deterioration.
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A PA official said that Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir phoned Abbas early on Saturday and discussed with him the situation in the Palestinian territories. The official said that senior Jordanian and Egyptian government officials have also contacted their Palestinian counterparts in a bid to avoid a further upsurge in violence.
US Secretary of State John Kerry also phoned Abbas on Saturday and discussed with him ways of calming the situation.
Abbas told Kerry that the Israeli government should stop settlers’ “provocations” in order to calm the situation, a PA official said.
Abbas’s office earlier issued a statement strongly denying an Israeli report according to which the PA president met recently with Isaac Molcho, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s special envoy.
In the Gaza Strip, eyewitnesses said that Hamas security forces prevented Palestinian protesters on Saturday from approaching the security barrier on the border with Israel.
They said that Hamas security forces used force to push back the protesters, who were planning to throw stones and firebombs at soldiers near Kibbutz Nahal Oz.
Meanwhile, Fatah denied on Saturday that it was part of a new group called the General Command Of The Third Palestinian Intifada.
Fatah spokesmen said that a leaflet published by the group, claiming to represent various Palestinian factions, was not authentic.
They described the leaflet as “suspicious,” saying “unpatriotic people and parties” were behind it.
The leaflet, which was published late on Friday, called on Palestinians to use firearms and hand grenades to attack Israeli targets. It also called for attacks against “economic and vital sites” in Israel.
While PA officials in the West Bank refrained over the weekend from calling for an escalation, Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip said that their movement was prepared to join the new intifada.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said during Friday prayers that Hamas would not leave the West Bank alone in the current confrontation with Israel.
“The Gaza Strip won’t abandon its strategic role in the battle for Jerusalem,” he said. “The occupied West Bank and Jerusalem are now in a state of a real intifada. The intifada, and not negotiations, is the only means for liberation.”
Hamas spokesman Mushir al-Masri said that Palestinians would avenge the killing of eight protesters during Friday’s clashes near the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel. “The Zionists have closed all doors and they can blame only themselves,” he said. “This is a battle over Jerusalem. It’s a religious battle. The Jerusalem intifada has begun and it will continue.”
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