Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas walks with Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi (unseen) as they review the honor guard in the West Bank city of Bethlehem.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The international community should end the “charade” whereby Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas refuses to negotiate with Israel, deliberately creates a crisis, adds to the crisis through inflammatory rhetoric and then pleads to the world to “save us,” a senior government official said on Wednesday night.
The official, who said the world should finally hold Abbas “accountable” for his behavior, was responding to the PA leader’s comments in Paris on Tuesday alongside French President François Hollande warning of a third intifada resulting from violence in Jerusalem, and calling on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to end Israel’s actions in the Old City, stop settlement activity, and return to negotiations.
“We spoke about what’s happening at Al-Aksa,” Abbas told a news conference after meeting with Hollande. “It’s extremely dangerous. We don’t want it to continue, and [if it did] the alternative would be chaos or an intifada that we don’t want.”
Hollande urged calm in Jerusalem and said the post- 1967 status quo on the Temple Mount should not be put into question.
The senior government official in Jerusalem said that while it is incumbent upon all responsible leaders to do what they can to encourage calm, Abbas is doing the exact opposite.
“He has been using terrible language, inciting language that is encouraging violence,” the official said. “I think that European governments that are all too quick to criticize Israel should be passing a message on to Abbas and asking if he is doing everything he can to calm things down, or whether – on the contrary – he is doing the exact opposite.”
Those leaders in the Arab and Islamic world who talk about a supposed threat to the Aksa Mosque are “simply conducting incitement,” The official said.
“There is no such threat,” he said. “The Israeli government has reiterated over and over that the status quo will be scrupulously upheld, and the people who are propagating this mendacious charge should know that they are fomenting violence.”
The official was relating directly to a “Haj message” Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
tweeted on Wednesday slamming the “vicious policies of America in the region” and the “crimes of the Zionist regime that has carried its usurping behavior in Palestine to extremes by showing utmost malevolence and viciousness, repeatedly insulting the holy Al-Aksa Mosque...”
Reuters contributed to this report.