Mahmoud Abbas Responds: It’s Israel who’s ‘carrying out ethnic cleansing’
In response to Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu’s public video stating Mahmoud Abbas’ demands for a Jew-free state to be ethnic cleansing, the Palestinian president equated Israel’s killing of armed terrorists, as ethnic cleansing.
By Elior Levy & Reuters
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas addressed on Sunday night Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin’s Netanyahu’s online video that claimed that opposing the presence of Jews in the West Bank is support of ethnic cleansing. Abbas said, “The government of Israel is carrying out ethnic cleansing and deliberately killing—acts that have exposed it to international criticism all over the world.”
The president criticized Israeli policy, “We are not isolated, like the Israeli government is trying to present us. The government of Israel is the actually isolated one in the international stage because it isn’t interested in continuing on the path of peace, continues the settlement industry and damages the holy sites.”
Netanyahu’s video, which he released in English on Friday via his Facebook page, shows him explaining, “The Palestinian leadership actually demands a Palestinian state with one pre-condition: No Jews. There’s a phrase for that: It’s called ethnic cleansing. And this demand is outrageous.” Abbas has stated that a future Palestinian state would not permit a single Israeli settler to live within its borders.
After viewing the video clip that was circulated on social media, US State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau said at a briefing in Washington that the Israeli leader’s words were “inappropriate and unhelpful.”
“We obviously strongly disagree with the characterization that those who oppose settlement activity or view it as an obstacle to peace are somehow calling for ethnic cleansing of Jews from the West Bank. We believe that using that type of terminology is inappropriate and unhelpful,” she said.
Trudeau added in her briefing that the United States feels the settlement policy raises “real questions about Israel’s long-term intentions in the West Bank.”
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