Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Palestinian Authority on Thursday rejected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s charges that PA President Mahmoud Abbas is responsible for recent tensions between Israel and the Palestinians and supports Wednesday’s terrorist attack and other violent incidents in the capital.
The PA said that while it “regrets the loss of all life,” it holds Netanyahu responsible for the latest tensions in east Jerusalem and the West Bank.
Meanwhile, Abbas’s Fatah faction published a poster depicting Abdel Rahman al-Shalodi, the Palestinian behind Wednesday’s terrorist attack
in Jerusalem, as a “hero and martyr.”
Fatah activists in Shalodi’s neighborhood of Silwan distributed the poster, which hailed him for carrying out an attack on “settlers in occupied Jerusalem.”
Abbas’s spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudaineh, said in response to Netanyahu’s charges that the “Israeli escalation and incitement and continued occupation of Palestinian lands are the real reason for all the violence in Palestine and the region.”
Accusing Israel of inciting against Abbas, the spokesman warned that this would create an “explosive climate in the Palestinian and regional arenas.”
Abu Rudaineh did not refer to the terrorist attack in Jerusalem, in which threemonth- old Chaya Zissel Braun was killed and others were injured.
“The world now rejects the Israeli occupation and many countries are recognizing the Palestinian state,” Abu Rudaineh said.
Abu Rudaineh also warned that the Palestinians would not remain silent vis-à-vis Israel’s “dangerous policy and assaults.” He added, without elaborating: “We have many options.”
Israel was searching for excuses to avoid the peace process, he claimed.
“The Israeli incitement is an attempt to evade [Israel’s] obligations toward international legitimacy,” he said. “Israel has lost its temper because of the world’s recognition of the Palestinian state.”
Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat also dismissed Netanyahu’s allegations against Abbas, dubbing them “unfounded and inflammatory.”
Erekat said that Netanyahu has “no credibility to lose, three weeks after he declared that the Obama administration was ‘against American values’ and ‘anti-peace’ for condemning his government’s approval of nearly 3,000 new settlement housing units in occupied east Jerusalem. But even by his standards, Mr. Netanyahu’s statement represents a dangerous new low.”
Erekat accused Netanyahu and “his extremist government coalition” of continuing to refuse the minimum requirements for peace, including acceptance of the two-state solution.
“Instead of pursuing peace, his government systematically violates international law in order to consolidate its apartheid regime in Palestine,” Erekat charged, referring to Netanyahu. “His stated plans to turn Jerusalem into an exclusive Jewish city violate several UN Security Council resolutions.”
In an indirect reference to the Jerusalem attack, Erekat said: “We regret all loss of life. At the same time we reiterate that the Israeli occupation of Palestine remains the main source of violence and instability in the region.”
Hamas, for its part, praised the terrorist attack, saying Shalodi was a member of the Islamist movement.
The “brave” attack was a “natural and expected response to growing Israeli violations against Palestinians and their holy sites,” Hamas said.