Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday evening urged Israel to “get out of our lives and our land.”
In an address at an event commemorating what was described as the 51st anniversary of the “Palestinian revolution,” Abbas berated the Israeli government and praised Palestinian steadfastness. (The PLO was founded in 1964, and its main Fatah faction declared a start to actions against Israel on December 31 that year.)
“Your government is deceiving you,” he said in remarks directed at Israelis at the event. “They don’t want peace for you, or for us. They are simply trying in any way possible to continue the occupation and the settlement of our land.”
Abbas also demanded the return of the bodies of Palestinians killed in attacks on Israelis in recent months. “We will not accept your continued holding of the bodies of our martyrs,” he said.
At least 25 Israelis have been killed and hundreds more wounded in an ongoing wave of Palestinian terrorism and violence — including car-rammings, stabbings and shootings — that began in October. More than 130 Palestinians have also died, most while carrying out terror attacks, and many of the others during violent clashes with Israeli security forces.
Abbas described the violence as a “response to the continuation of the occupation, settlements, and abuse of holy sites,” and said it was also due to “the absence of a just settlement to our cause.. and a loss of hope.”
He stopped short of praising the attacks, and instead touted what he said was the PA’s strategy of seeking political victories via international bodies. “We will plant our roots using the weapon of international law, the UN, and the international system,” he said.
Discussing prospects for peace with Israel, Abbas said “your tanks, artillery, planes, walls, and settlements, will not bring you any peace or security,” but that this would come, rather, through “your recognition of our people’s rights, [righting] the historic injustice which you have brought.”
“Are you prepared for that?” he asked.
Achieving peace between Israel and the Palestinians would benefit the whole region, Abbas argued, as it “will take away the arguments of terrorist groups working in the name of religion, and use the words ‘Palestine’ and ‘Jerusalem’ to justify their terror.”
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.