PA President Mahmoud Abbas at the UN 370 (R).
(photo credit: Lucas Jackson / Reuters)
Israel bears full responsibility for the current tensions in the West Bank
because of its use of lethal force against demonstrators, Palestinian Authority
President Mahmoud Abbas said Thursday.
Meanwhile, members of Fatah’s
armed wing, the Aksa Martyrs Brigades, told reporters in Hebron that they are
waiting for a “green light” from Abbas to “respond to Israeli
crimes.”The gunmen spoke to reporters during the funeral of prisoner
Maissara Abu Hamdiyeh, who died on Tuesday of cancer.
leaders in Ramallah, Abbas said that Israel was “apparently seeking to create
confusion and chaos in the Palestinian territories.”
Referring to the
killing of two Palestinian teenagers near Tulkarm
earlier Thursday, Abbas asked:
“How can peaceful demonstrations lead to the death of two martyrs and before
that others? Allah knows what is going on.”
Abbas said that Israel’s
actions show that it wants a “security escalation” in the Palestinian
territories. “If Israel really cared about security, it would not be using
lethal force against demonstrators,” he added.
He said that Israel alone
bears full responsibility for what is happening today and what will happen in
the future. “Apparently Israel wants a third intifada,” Abbas
continued. “They want to avoid fulfilling their obligations. They are
apparently not interested, as a matter of principle, in any step toward
Tayeb Abdel Rahim, a top aide to Abbas, said that Palestinian
“sacrifices would only increase our people’s resolve and adherence to their just
national rights.” Palestinians, he stressed, would never give up one inch
of their lands.
Abdel Rahim was speaking during the funeral of the two
Palestinian teenagers who were killed by the IDF. “Israel bears
responsibility for its crimes against our prisoners, people and holy sites,” he
said. “They were killed in cold blood. The Israeli army’s claims are
unjustified because they were not carrying any weapons and only used
Abdel Rahim also claimed that Israel was seeking to drag the
Palestinians towards a third intifada.
Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu’s spokesman Mark Regev responded to the Palestinian charges by saying
“it is a pity that there are elements within the Palestinian Authority using the
language of confrontation, instead of the language of reconciliation and
peace.” He said the problems are not going to be solved “by calling for
violent demonstrations,” and that the “language of conflict is doing a
disservice to those trying to bring about a resumption of
According to Regev, there is currently a “genuine and serious
attempt by the prime minister, together with the Americans, to try to restart
direct peace talks.”
US Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to
arrive in Israel Monday and hold a second round of talks in just over two weeks
with Netanyahu, and the next day with Abbas.
One official termed the
charge that Israel was trying to escalate the situation as “mendacious and not
true. Those inside the PA making these outrageous charges are tying to foment
The official said that Israel expected more from a
leadership that said it believed in peace.
Government officials declined
to comment on whether the events surrounding the death in jail of Hamdiyeh
served to increase or decrease the likelihood of Israel releasing some
Palestinian prisoners – specifically 120 prisoners who have been in jail before
the 1993 Oslo accords – as a gesture to get the Palestinians back to the
“I am not going to go into the details of specific
confidence building measures beyond saying we are ready for mutual reciprocal
steps to restart the process,” the Israeli official said.