Abbas: Israel rejected US offer to broker talks to calm incitement

Palestinian Authority president tells Dutch Jews Jerusalem unwilling to discuss provocations ‘on both sides’

Tamar Pileggi is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

File: Mahmoud Abbas speaks with journalists at his office in the West Bank city of Ramallah on October 6, 2015. (AFP/Ahmad Gharabli)
File: Mahmoud Abbas speaks with journalists at his office in the West Bank city of Ramallah on October 6, 2015. (AFP/Ahmad Gharabli)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday said that Israel rejected a recent US offer to mediate talks aimed at calming both sides’ incitement to violence.

Abbas told members of the Dutch pro-Israel lobby, the Center for Information and Documentation on Israel, that he was willing to address issues of provocation, but Israel was unwilling to participate in the initiative.

“A proposal by the Americans to solve the issue of incitement on both sides was floated, but Israel rejected it,” Abbas said.

In recent weeks, Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have repeatedly accused Abbas of fueling the surge in terrorism, in part by peddling “lies” about purported Israeli plans to change the status quo at Jerusalem’s flashpoint Temple Mount holy site.

Abbas was in the Netherlands to urge the International Criminal Court to advance its probe into Palestinian accusations that Israel committed war crimes during the current wave of violence.

The PA president told CIDI delegates that Israel and Hamas were conducting “direct negotiations here in Europe, in a country which I will not name,” as well as indirect talks up until last month, through Tony Blair, a former prime minister of Britain.

Abbas went on to say that he neither intends to abandon the 1993 agreements signed by Israel and the Palestinians nor insist on the absorption of millions of Palestinians into Israel.

Ten Israelis have been killed in the spate of near-daily attacks since October 1 and dozens have been wounded. Over 60 Palestinians have been killed in the latest round of violence, the majority of them while carrying out stabbing attacks against Israelis. The rest died in clashes with Israeli military forces.

While Abbas hasn’t openly endorsed the attacks, he hasn’t condemned them either, including during a speech at the UN last month where he accused Israel of sending “extremists” into the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Earlier on Friday, Abbas asked ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda “to expedite” a preliminary inquiry into Israel and submitted a new dossier alleging the summary killings and collective punishment byu Israeli security forces.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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