Israel: 'No justification for wanton attacks on civilians'

Abbas: ‘Justified popular unrest’ triggered by despair of young Palestinians

Appearing to legitimize ongoing terror wave, PA leader blames ‘invasion’ of Al-Aqsa, poor prospects for peace, settlement construction

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas speaks at the Red Cross offices in the West Bank on December 14, 2015 (screen capture: Channel 2)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas speaks at the Red Cross offices in the West Bank on December 14, 2015 (screen capture: Channel 2)

The current wave of “justified popular unrest” by West Bank Palestinians was triggered by the despair among the young over the lack of a political horizon, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Monday in a speech in which he appeared to legitimize the ongoing wave of terror attacks on Israelis.

This violence stems from “the despair of young Palestinians over the lack of a political horizon for the two-state solution, the invasion of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the continuation of settlement building and military checkpoint deployment,” he added, according to Israeli media outlets Channel 10 and Maariv.

Attending an event to mark the UN’s International Anti-Corruption Day at the Red Cross and Red Crescent headquarters in El-Bireh, Abbas claimed that the current violence — which has seen a surge in Palestinian terror attacks, many carried out by young Palestinians, was caused by the “lack of an alternative.”

Young Palestinians have given up on reaching a two-state solution, Abbas said, adding that they had seen that “our state doesn’t exist because of the settlements and checkpoints, and despair started to seep in.”

Israel condemned Abbas’s comment that attacks are “justified.”

“There can never be justification for wanton attacks on civilians like we saw today,” said government spokesman Mark Regev.

The Palestinian leader also revisited his claims that Israel was seeking to change the fragile status quo on the flash point Temple Mount in Jerusalem, which houses the Al-Aqsa Mosque and is the site of the the two biblical Jewish Temples. Under the terms of the agreement on the site, non-Muslims can visit but not pray.

A solution has not been found to the supposed “attacks on the Al-Aqsa Mosque,” Abbas said, drawing a parallel between the current situation and former prime minister Ariel Sharon’s visit to the site in September 2000, on the eve of the outbreak the Second Intifada . “Today the situation is similar,” Abbas said, repeating accusations that Israel has slammed as incitement to violence and utterly false.

However, Abbas said, the Palestinians “are not opposed to visits that are coordinated with the Waqf [Islamic body responsible for the Temple Mount mosques], in order to preserve the status quo.”

Nonetheless, Abbas said, the Palestinians are still “patient and steadfast about our rights.”

The PA president spoke hours after a Palestinian terrorist rammed his car into pedestrians at the entrance to Jerusalem injuring 14 people, including a 15-month-old baby boy.

Jerusalem has been one of the two focal points of terror attacks since the latest wave of violence began in October, with the West Bank city of Hebron being the other. More than 20 Israelis have been killed since the start of the violence, and hundreds more have been wounded. Over 100 Palestinians have died, most of them shot in the act of attacking Israelis.

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