In Ramallah, Blinken Mourns ‘Innocent Palestinian Civilians’ Killed, Abbas Blames Israel

TOPSHOT - Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas (R) and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during a meeting in Ramallah on Tuesday he mourned the “innocent Palestinian civilians” killed over the past year in the West Bank. Of the Palestinians killed, the overwhelming majority were terrorists – most of them while they were carrying out attacks.

Abbas for his part said Israel was fully to blame for the escalation of violence, including the terror attacks in Jerusalem over the weekend which claimed the lives of 7 Israelis and injured several more.

The aging Palestinian expressed frustration at the U.S. and international community for not pressuring Israel in the face of “unilateral measures, including settlements, the de facto annexation of lands, settler terrorism, invasions of Palestinian areas, killings, house demolitions, displacing the Palestinians, altering the identity of Jerusalem, violating the historical status quo at Al-Aqsa Mosque compound (Temple Mount), seizing Palestinian tax funds, as well as ethnic cleansing and apartheid.”

Regarding “settlements and the de facto annexation of lands,” Israel’s government has so far made no moves to extend sovereignty over the West Bank. Palestinian construction is far outpacing Jewish construction in Area C, the area of the West Bank where both Jewish and Palestinians live, with illegal Palestinian construction rising by 80 percent last year.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L) speaks with secretary general of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Hussein al-Sheikhinin in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, on January 31, 2023. (PMAJDI MOHAMMED/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

“Killings and house demolitions, displacing Palestinians” occurs only in the case that a terrorist carried out an attack against Israelis, and even this is subject to multiple legal hurdles and often takes months, a process that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this week promised to expedite to deter future terrorist attacks.

“Altering the identity of Jerusalem, violating the historical status quo at Al-Aqsa Mosque compound (Temple Mount)”. Israel maintains that it has done nothing to “alter the identity of Jerusalem,” which it upholds as the capital of the Jewish state, and has promised over and over to preserve the status quo of the Temple Mount. Only last week did Netanyahu repeat the assurance to Jordan’s King Abdullah II — despite some right-wing elements of his government calling for a change to the status quo, which currently means that Jews are forbidden from praying on the site — Judaism’s holiest – even under their breath.

“Seizing Palestinian tax funds” – Israel in 2018 passed a law requiring the government to withhold tax monies owed to the PA in the equivalent sums that the PA is estimated to pay out in its so-called pay-for-slay scheme, paying monthly salaries to terrorists and their families, something that Abbas himself has vowed he would pay until the last penny of Palestinian coffers.

“Ethnic cleansing and apartheid” – Israel is guilty of neither. In fact, Jerusalem’s Arab population has gone from 26 percent to 38 percent since Israel’s 1967 defensive Six Day War, when it liberated eastern Jerusalem from Jordanian occupation. There has been no decrease in populations, either in Israeli Arab cities or in Palestinian cities, throughout Israel’s history. In 1948, there were 150,000 Arabs in Israel. Today, there are 2 million Israeli Arabs, 20 percent of the population.

The Palestinian population in Gaza and the West Bank has increased ninefold since 1948. Arabs hold the highest positions of power in Israel, were in the last ruling government, and have served as Supreme Court justices.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken (C) meets representatives of Palestinian civil society in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, on January 31, 2023. (RONALDO SCHEMIDT/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

In comments made after his meeting with Blinken, Abbas said that the Palestinians have always “shown commitment to renouncing violence and terrorism and honoring the agreements” with Israel.

“We are now ready to work with the American administration and the international community to restore political dialogue in order to end the Israeli occupation of the land of the State of Palestine on the 1967 borders, with east Jerusalem as its capital,” Abbas added.

“Our people won’t accept the continuation of the occupation forever.”



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