(photo credit: Reuters)
Israeli officials dismissed on Tuesday a Palestinian Authority demand for an
international inquiry into the death of Palestinian detainee Arafat Jaradat as a
“predictable” maneuver and part of a larger strategy to bring the international
community into the conflict whenever possible.
A call for international
involvement is “nothing new,” one official said, and is part of the overall
PA President Mahmoud Abbas said Tuesday that
“Palestine has officially requested an international commission of inquiry into
the death of Jaradat.”
Abbas, speaking to members of the PLO Executive
Committee during a meeting in Ramallah, said that a Palestinian forensic expert
had already determined that Jaradat died as a result of torture.
are waiting for an international commission of inquiry to find out how Jaradat
was assassinated in prison,” he said.
Israeli officials noted that there
were currently three parallel investigations into the death. The Health Ministry
was conducting an autopsy, the police were investigating, and – as is the case
in all instances of prison deaths – a judge has ordered an inquest.
officials noted that Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said Monday
that Israel would be happy to have an international professional look at how it
was investigating the incident. The officials also noted that UN Undersecretary-
General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman called for an “independent and
transparent” investigation, but said nothing about an international
Abbas, meanwhile, told the PLO Executive Committee that the
Palestinians were facing an “unprecedented Israeli escalation targeting
teenagers and children protesting against practices of the occupation and
settlers, especially against Palestinian detainees.”
Israel for re-arresting Palestinians who had been released in exchange for IDF
soldier Gilad Schalit in 2011.
“We don’t know what are the dangerous
security offenses they committed to be returned to prison,” he
Abbas said that the current protests in the West Bank were in
response to Israeli “assaults” on youths and the continued imprisonment of
Palestinians. The Palestinians, he emphasized, were not interested in a further
escalation of tensions.
“We want to reach a peaceful settlement based on
international legitimacy,” Abbas continued.
“We want an end to occupation
of the land of the occupied state of Palestine.”
Following the meeting in
Ramallah, the PLO Executive Committee appealed to Palestinians to avoid being
dragged by Israel into a confrontation.
The committee urged Palestinians
to support the struggle of hunger-strikers in Israeli prisons. Referring to the
death of Jaradat, the committee reiterated the charge that he had died of
torture while being held in Israeli custody.
Israeli officials blasted
these types of comments, saying that the Palestinian behavior over the last few
days has been to try and escalate the tension, as witnessed by the fact that
within an hour of the initial autopsy on the body the PA put out a statement
saying that Jaradat was tortured.
The official said that the directives
from the political echelon to the IDF have been to show maximum restraint in
dealing with the rioting that spread after the prisoner’s death.
no interest in this violence escalating, but are concerned that some inside the
PA want it to do so, and are calling for violence,” the official said. “We saw
people bused to demonstrations, and heard statements of incitement coming from
The official said that the events were not directly impacting on
preparations for US President Barack Obama’s trip toward the end of
He also said the recent events did not change Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu’s desire to try to reengage with the PA.
In a related
development, US Secretary of State John Kerry said in Berlin that Obama would
not bring a peace plan on his visit to Israel
and the territories, but rather
intends to listen.
The announcement of Obama’s visit has raised
speculation of a new US push to revive Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. But
Kerry, speaking to German students during his first foreign trip as Washington’s
top diplomat, played down expectations.
“We’re not going to go and sort
of plunk a plan down and tell everybody what they have to do,” Kerry said. “I
want to consult and the president wants to listen.”
Kerry said that after
Obama’s trip, which also includes a stop in Jordan, the US would see how it
might pursue peace. He called for both sides to calm down the current
“We really hope everybody will step back a little and try to
find a way to proceed very calmly and very thoughtfully in these next days,” he
said, “[and] leave the opportunities for peaceful resolution
open.”Reuters contributed to this report.