Ministers may blame Abbas, but IDF says he’s working against violence
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Ministers may blame Abbas, but IDF says he’s working against violence

In message to Palestinians, senior IDF general says Israel doesn’t want escalation, but won’t tolerate violence

Mahmoud Abbas speaks with journalists at his office in the West Bank city of Ramallah on October 6, 2015. (AFP/AHMAD GHARABLI)
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 is working to prevent violence and terror attacks, according to an assessment by the IDF Intelligence Directorate, which emerged on Wednesday in the midst of a series of Palestinian terror attacks in Israel and the West Bank.

The army’s assessment differs starkly from the statements of cabinet ministers in recent days that placed the blame on Abbas for inciting the wave of terror attacks in which four Israelis have been killed and several more injured.

Ministers on the right, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Tourism Minister Yariv Levin, have said Abbas — who charged in a UN speech last week that Israel was sending “extremists” into Al-Aqsa Mosque — was “inciting” the violence.

The army’s intelligence assessment, as reported by the Ynet news site, argues that Abbas is acting to tamp down the violence, including instructing his security services to contain the rioting and prevent terror attacks against Israelis.

PA security services have continued their close coordination with the IDF, the army says.

The army also warns that while Abbas continues to work to prevent violence, the perceived failure of his recent efforts to obtain recognition of Palestinian statehood in international bodies has weakened his position in the Palestinian street, and it is this weakening that helps drive the violence.

Government Coordinator in the Territories Brigadier general Yoav Mordechai (L) speaks with Oded Ravivi, head council of Efrat, during a tour expanding the settlement of Efrat in Gush Etzion on January 25, 2015. (Gershon Elinson/Flash90)
Government Coordinator in the Territories Brigadier general Yoav Mordechai (L) speaks with Oded Ravivi, head council of Efrat, during a tour expanding the settlement of Efrat in Gush Etzion on January 25, 2015. (Gershon Elinson/Flash90)

Also Wednesday, the IDF’s chief liaison to the Palestinians, Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, told Palestinian media that Israel does not want an escalation in the conflict.

In a statement (Arabic link) to the Palestinian news agency Ma’an, Mordechai, who heads the Defense Ministry’s Civil Administration in the West Bank, warned that Israel would act aggressively against violence, but also insisted Israeli authorities would not let the violence affect the daily lives of Palestinians. Permits to work in Israel would remain in force and the movement of goods and merchants would not be curtailed, he said.

Israel also remains committed to the five-decade-old status quo on the Temple Mount, Mordechai stressed. Temporary police restrictions on Palestinian access to the Old City and Temple Mount, imposed in recent days in an effort to quell violence at and around the holy site, have been lifted.

Mordechai also emphasized Israel’s agreement to allow growing quantities of reconstruction supplies into Gaza, saying building materials were now accessible to 97,000 Gazans.

Mordechai also addressed extremist Jews’ attacks on Palestinians, saying the Israeli government would not permit violent attacks by any side.

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