Israeli officials on Wednesday night tore into Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s claims that Israel executed a 13-year-old Palestinian boy, Ahmed Manasra, noting that the child was not dead and castigating the PA chief’s failure to note that the boy had stabbed and wounded a young Israeli in an unprovoked terror attack before being shot.
The office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Abbas of spreading “lies and incitement” in his speech.
“The boy he is referring to is alive and hospitalized in Hadassah (hospital) after stabbing an Israeli child who was riding his bicycle,” the PMO said in a statement.
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said the claims “sanction (the actions of) murderers and terrorists, some of them children, to go and carry out attacks. The blood of our wounded and murdered citizens is on his hands.”
Netanyahu’s main opposition party in the Knesset, the Zionist Union, called Abbas’s claims “grave, defamatory statements that distort reality, border on utter irresponsibility and only serve to further fan the flames of hopelessness and hatred in the region.”
Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid called the speech “a miserable performance showing lack of leadership.”
“Instead of calming the situation and condemning the despicable terrorists who are trying to murder innocent Israelis, Abbas chose to mount a miserable performance showing lack of leadership and cowardice of the lowest level,” he said. “Terrorists should know that Israel will stand strong and fight terrorism anywhere, anytime and with great force. Whoever tries to harm us — their blood is upon their heads.”
Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev said Abbas’s claims proved he was “the head of the snake and leader and tutor of killers.”
Immigration and Absorption Minister Ze’ev Elkin called Abbas’s speech “blood libel” and said his words proved that PA incitement was behind the recent wave of civil unrest and terrorism.
The PA president made the accusations during a speech broadcast live on Palestinian television, his first major address since the start of the wave of terror attacks against Israelis and spiraling violence between the sides.
Referring to an attack two days ago, in which Hassan Manasra, 15, and his cousin Ahmed Manasra, 13, stabbed a 13-year-old boy and 25-year-old man in the northern Jerusalem neighborhood of Pisgat Zeev, seriously wounding both, Abbas said Israel killed the two attackers in “cold blood.”
Hassan Manasra was shot to death when he charged at police with a knife, and Ahmed Manasra was seriously wounded after being hit by a car while fleeing and is being treated in an Israeli hospital.
Other Palestinian officials have also accused Israel of executing the teens in cold blood.
On Wednesday, Israeli police released footage showing the two brandishing knives and chasing a man before one is shot after trying to run at police.
In his speech Abbas also accused Israel of “attacking holy places.” He said Israel’s “rejection” of peace and continued building of Jewish West Bank settlements were to blame for the current wave of violence, maintaining that he backs peaceful resistance against Israel.
Palestinians “will not agree to the continuation of the situation on our lands, nor to the policy of occupation and aggression of Israel and its settlers who are terrorizing our people, homes, trees, holy places and who execute our boys in cold blood, as they did with the boy Ahmed Manasra and other children in Jerusalem and other places,” he said. “We will continue our national struggle, which is based on self-defense.”
He said the Palestinians will not agree to change the status quo in Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and will not allow the Israelis to implement plans that would harm the holiness of the place. “Al-Aqsa is our right as Palestinians and as Muslims and no one else has a right there,” he said.
Much of the violence has been touched off by Palestinian claims that Israel intends to shift its policies on the site, though Israel has repeatedly denied any plans to change the status quo on the Temple Mount.