Abbas spokesperson denies PA leader called EU ‘animals’ over election pressure

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

The spokesperson for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas issues a statement flatly denying The Times of Israel’s report that the PA president referred to the European Union as “animals” while expressing his frustration over Brussels’s conduct surrounding Palestinian elections.

According to two people in the room for Abbas’s meeting with leaders of the Palestinian-American community in New York City last night, Abbas referred to the EU leadership as “animals,” using the derogatory Arabic word حيوانات, or “ḥaywānāt” which can describe someone who doesn’t listen and misbehaves.

In a statement posted on the PA’s official Wafa news agency, Nabil Abu Rudeinah says the PA president did indeed speak about the issue of elections, “affirming the official Palestinian position to hold them as soon as possible in East Jerusalem, but he did not insult anyone in his words, nor did he use any word that insulted any party.”

“Such reports issued in the Israeli media are a continuation of the fierce campaign led by the Israeli occupation authorities against the Palestinian leadership and the Palestinian narrative, which is making its way in the United States and in the world at large,” Abu Rudeinah adds.

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