TEL AVIV – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday blamed the recent spate of terror attacks against Israelis on “martyrs” who have “lost hope.”
“Our young people have taken up knives because they have no hope,” the Palestinian independent Ma’an news agency quoted Abbas as saying.
Abbas said that the Palestinian Authority condemns terror attacks and is not behind them, but stopped short of specifically referring to the six attacks over the weekend.
“Every day we have martyrs, and youth who are carrying knives,” he said at a meeting with Palestinian students and graduates on Venezuela’s Margarita Island, where he is attending a confab of the Non-Aligned Movement.
“Do not believe those who say there is someone pushing them [the attackers] or inciting them,” he added. “They do this on their own initiative, because they have lost hope and therefore go out with knives to carry out terrorist stabbings.”
On the one hand, he called for “peaceful popular resistance” against Israel, but also said “the hands of the Palestinians are extended for peace.”
Meanwhile, Hamas spokesman Usamah Hamdan rebuffed Abbas’ words.
“To Mahmoud Abbas: Our youngsters carry knives on their own because they belong to a people of resistance who have not been conquered by the brutality of the occupiers or security coordination with them, and not because of despair,” Hamdan posted on Twitter.
While Abbas said his Fatah party does not see eye to eye with rival Hamas on anything, he noted, “Hamas is a part of the Palestinian people, and we do not deny that.”
Six terror attacks within a 48-hour period over the weekend followed a relative lull in attacks since the recent wave of violence began in September.