PA President Abbas at Doha conference on J'lem 390 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS/Mohammed Dabbous)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday called on Arabs and
Muslims to visit Jerusalem, saying this was not a form of “normalization” with
In a speech in Doha before the International Conference for
Defending and Protecting Jerusalem, Abbas emphasized the need to bring the issue
of Jerusalem before the UN Security Council.
“Visiting a prisoner is an
act of support and does not mean normalization with the warden,” Abbas said,
comparing Palestinians to prisoners and Israel to the warden.
should be the central title in relations between Arab and Islamic countries and
Abbas accused Israel of working toward obliterating the Arab,
Islamic and Christian character of east Jerusalem with the goal of “Judaizing”
the city and consolidating it as its capital.
He also accused Israel of
pursuing a policy of ethnic cleansing and destroying Jerusalem’s infrastructure
and economic resources.
Abbas urged Arab and Islamic countries to support
the Palestinians in the city in various fields, including education, housing and
East Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Palestine, the PA
president told the conference, and Israel’s decision to annex east Jerusalem is
null and void.
Abbas also complained that since the early 1990s, Israel
has been preventing Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip from visiting
Jerusalem and the holy sites.
“Jerusalem is our identity; it is the
beginning and the end for us,” Abbas added. “Jerusalem is the key to
peace and the beating heart of our homeland.”
An Israeli government
official slammed Abbas for his comments, saying, “Peace cannot be based on
ignoring the truth.”
The source pointed out that in 2000 at the Camp
David negotiations between then-prime minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian leader
Yasser Arafat, Arafat denied there ever was a Jewish temple in Jerusalem, saying
that this was the reason he was not willing to make any compromises on the holy
“I hope the current generation of Palestinian leadership will not
make the same mistake Arafat made,” the official said.
Palestinian side continues with a position that denies reality and totally
negates Jewish rights, then there can be no basis for peace and
Later Sunday evening, the Prime Minister’s Office issued a
stern response, calling Abbas’s speech “harshly inflammatory” from someone who
“claims that he is bent on peace.”
“Israel expects that one who
supposedly champions peace would prepare his people for peace and coexistence,
and not disseminate lies and incitement,” the statement said. “This is not how
one makes peace.”
The statement added that Jerusalem has been the eternal
capital of the Jewish people for thousands of years, and that under Israeli
sovereignty, it will “continue to be open to believers of all faiths.”
said that Abbas “knows full well there is no foundation to his contemptible
The conference in Doha was being attended by representatives of
some 70 countries, as well as an Israeli Arab delegation headed by United Arab
List-Ta’al MK Ahmed Tibi. United Arab List-Ta’al MKs Taleb a-Sanaa and Ibrahim
Sarsour were also in attendance.
“The Judaization of al-Quds is a clear
violation of international law that requires the intervention of the UN and
international community, as well as massive Arab aid to residents of east
Jerusalem that are fighting under settlement rule,” Tibi said at the
According to Tibi, Israel limits Palestinians’
freedom of worship and does not let them pray at the Aksa Mosque.
United Arab List-Ta’al MK also met with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s
special envoy to the Middle East, Robert Serry, and lamented “racist laws in the
Knesset,” saying that the UN should demand that Israel recognize Arabs as a
Israel expressed strong disappointment
participation in the conference.
MK Danny Danon (Likud)
submitted a complaint to the Knesset Ethics Committee, saying that the MKs
attending the conference should be sanctioned for taking advantage of Israeli
democracy to harm the country.
“Arab MKs have been testing the borders of
their parliamentary immunity, and are breaking new records in their actions
against Israel,” he said.
“These MKs, who aid terror, belong with the
local Iranian representatives at Hamas headquarters.”