‘Show me where I am in­cit­ing’

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY ANSHEL PFEFFER

PALES­TINIAN PRES­I­DENT Mah­moud Ab­bas has claimed that he op­poses all forms of ter­ror­ism, is seek­ing a peace deal and was snubbed when he tried to ar­range a meet­ing with Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter, Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu.

In a spe­cial press con­fer­ence for Is­raeli jour­nal­ists last Thurs­day, Mr Ab­bas said that, in the past two months, there had been un­of­fi­cial talks be­tween the two lead­ers’ of­fices on a pos­si­ble meet­ing but, af­ter the Pales­tini­ans had sig­nalled their agree­ment, the Is­raelis backed out.

Mr Ne­tanyahu’s of­fice de­nied this, say­ing: “Abu Mazen is try­ing to avoid his re­spon­si­bil­ity for the ab­sence of ne­go­ti­a­tions.” The of­fi­cial Is­raeli pol­icy re­mains that there should be no pre­con­di­tions for talks with the Pales­tini­ans.

Mr Ab­bas ex­plained at the press con­fer­ence that his de­mands for a freeze in set­tle­ment build­ing for the du­ra­tion of talks and the re­lease of Pales­tinian pris­on­ers was not a pre-con­di­tion but a ful­fil­ment of pre­vi­ous Is­raeli com­mit­ments.

He re­peated his as­sur­ances that the Pales­tinian Au­thor­ity would con­tinue to co-or­di­nate se­cu­rity op­er­a­tions with Is­rael, de­spite the dead­lock in ne­go­ti­a­tions.

Mr Ab­bas de­nied al­le­ga­tions that he and the PA have been in­cit­ing against Is­rael.

“I don’t in­cite, con­trary to what Is­raeli cab­i­net min­is­ters are say­ing,” he said. “I call on them to show me where ex­actly I am in­cit­ing.”

He de­fended the PA’ s de­ci­sion to pay salaries to fam­i­lies of Pales­tini­ans pris­on­ers and “mar­tyrs”, say­ing this was the “law and cul­ture”. He added: “It’s my duty to look af­ter ev­ery pris­oner.”

Mr Ab­bas said he was op­posed to all acts of ter­ror­ism. But, he added, “Let’s not for­get that the wave of vi­o­lence is the re­sult of the ab­sence of a political hori­zon and peace process.”

Mean­while, the PA is con­tin­u­ing to con­front Is­rael on the diplo­matic front. It is try­ing to gain sup­port among UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil mem­bers in­clud­ing France, Spain and Egypt for a res­o­lu­tion that will de­fine Is­rael’s set­tle­ment ac­tiv­i­ties as il­le­gal un­der in­ter­na­tional law and ex­pose Is­rael to sanc­tions. It is still un­clear whether the Pales­tini­ans will have suf­fi­cient sup­port for such a res­o­lu­tion.



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