Fatah spokesman says Israel "exploiting the Itamar incident to incite against President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority."
By KHALED ABU TOAMEH
The Palestinian Authority on Sunday reacted strongly to Israel’s decision to build hundreds of housing units in the settlements in response to Friday night’s terror attack in Itamar.It also accused Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu of exploiting the Itamar killings to incite against the PA and its leaders.RELATED:UN: New settlement construction not 'conducive to peace'Fogel family laid to rest: 'Keep building in their name'The decision is wrong and unacceptable, said Nabil Abu Rudaineh, spokesman for PA President Mahmoud Abbas. “The climate that this decision creates only creates problems,” he added.“Peace requires courageous decisions. The decision will destroy everything and will lead to many problems.”PA Minister for Settlements and the [separation] Wall, Maher Ghnaim, said he did not rule out the possibility that settlers were behind the Itamar “incident.”He said that the settlers’ goal was to “justify their crimes” in the West Bank, establish additional housing units and confiscate more land.“It’s possible that this incident was created so that it could be used as an excuse for all what the settlers do,” Ghnaim told the Qudsnet news Website.“This incident shows that only settlers benefit from it. This indicates that they may have created this excuse.”Referring to the decision to build new housing units, the Palestinian minister accused the Israeli government of seeking to create new facts on the ground by force. “These measures don’t prepare the atmosphere for a real peace process,” Ghnaim said. “The government and the settlers are exploiting the incident. They have a plan to present the settlers as victims and the Palestinians as aggressors.”Abbas’s ruling Fatah faction also condemned the decision to build new housing units and called on the international community to intervene to stop “settler crimes against our defenseless people.”Fatah spokesman Ahmed Assaf also urged the international community to pressure Israel to reverse the decision, which he decision, which he condemned as “inflammatory.”Israel, he added, was “exploiting the Itamar incident to incite against President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority and to announce plans to build new housing units in an attempt to solve its internal problems.”The Fatah spokesman dismissed Israeli allegations of incitement. “If they mean that we have been exposing crimes of settlers and the occupation, then the question is: Why do they perpetrate these crimes?” he asked.
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