Bibi blames Abbas for ‘incitement’
THE ROLE of the Palestinian leadership in inciting the latest round of violence has been hotly debated within the Israeli establishment.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has accused Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his colleagues of inciting the Palestinian public to carry out terror attacks by accusing Israeli Jews of “defiling” the Al Aqsa Mosque on Temple Mount.
At the same time, both the Shin Bet security service and the IDF’s military intelligence believe that Mr Abbas and his security apparatus — despite not energetically curbing the violence — remain as a “moderating influence” in the West Bank.
This is partly owing to the PA’s rivalry with Hamas, which called from Gaza for a “Jerusalem Intifada” and hailed the terror attacks on Jews as acts of heroism. The PA meanwhile has neither explicitly endorsed nor condemned any of the acts of violence in recent weeks.
In a speech to the Knesset on Tuesday, Mr Netanyahu addressed Mr Abbas and said that he and his people must “stop lying and stop inciting”.
He accused the Palestinian leadership of intentionally misconstruing the actions of Israel’s security forces and its policy on the Temple Mount, as an attempt to unilaterally change the status quo, thereby inflaming the tension.
Mr Abbas himself kept a relatively low profile this week, but some of his closest aides continued a barrage of propaganda against Israel. Saeb Erekat, the former chief Palestinian negotiator, accused Mr Netanyahu of being responsible for the current cycle of violence.
Mr Abbas’s spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeinah, accused Israel of executing the 13-year-old Palestinian who took part in the attack on Monday in the Jerusalem neighbourhood of Pisgat Zeev. Despite the fact the teenager was not killed — he was wounded and arrested — Palestinian media described him as a “martyr”.
Members of the Joint Arab List also refused to denounce the recent attacks or call for calm. But at the same time they also decided not to defy Mr Netanyahu’s directive against Knesset members of all parties and religions entering the Temple Mount.