ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 145

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Mansour Abbas calls on armed Palestinian factions to throw down their weapons, work with PA to establish state

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

Ra'am party head MK Mansour Abbas leads a faction meeting at the Knesset, October 16, 2023. (Noam Revkin Fenton/ Flash90)
Ra'am party head MK Mansour Abbas leads a faction meeting at the Knesset, October 16, 2023. (Noam Revkin Fenton/ Flash90)

Ra’am chairman MK Mansour Abbas becomes the first Arab party leader in Israel’s history to publicly call on the armed Palestinian factions to demilitarize and work with the Palestinian Authority in order to establish a Palestinian state through non-violent means.

“In order to move forward, the Palestinian militant groups need to throw down their arms. They need to work hand in hand with the Palestinian Authority in order to realize a national movement that will aspire for a state of Palestine in a peaceful solution alongside the state of Israel,” Abbas tells CNN in a rare interview with international media.

Abbas, whose Islamist Ra’am party was the first independent Arab-majority faction to join an Israeli coalition — the 2021-22 Naftali Bennett-Yair Lapid government — begins the interview by reiterating his condemnation of the October 7 massacres.

“Any action that is taken against innocent people — against women, children, elderly — is inhumane and it goes against the values of Islam as well. We categorically condemn this. This cannot be discussed or cannot be justified because it goes against all human values and religious values as well,” he says.

“But at the same time, we cannot forget that there is a political struggle that is happening,” Abbas continues.

“But the actions that the armed groups have decided to take and to use violence in order to achieve their means looking at the past have always failed. The victim of each and every one of those militant attempts have been the Palestinian people who were the ones who paid the price. In this current conflict, we look at the number of people killed we’re talking about over 15,000 Palestinians who lost their lives,” he laments.

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