Thursday

14th Dec 2017

Palestinian leader warns EU that violence could escalate

  • Abbas said ready to resume peace talks and live 'side by side' with Israel if it stops settlement expansion (Photo: eeas.europa.eu)

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has said violence could get worse unless Israel protects Muslim rights and resumes peace talks.

Speaking to media in the EU capital on Monday (26 October), he described the situation as "extremely serious and grave", adding "it may even deteriorate, and this is my fear".

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Israel lobbying against EU plans to publish settler retail code (Photo: eeas.europa.eu)

The EU's top diplomat, Federica Mogherini, invited him to Brussels as part of European and US efforts to stop the cycle of stabbings, car rammings, and shootings which began last month in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Earlier on Monday, Israeli police killed three Palestinians in Israeli-occupied Hebron.

The incidents bring the Palestinian death toll to 60 people this month, including 15 minors. Palestinian attackers killed nine Israelis in the same period.

EU diplomats say the violence is hard to stop because attacks are being carried out spontaneously by individuals on both sides.

They fear it could escalate into a Palestinian uprising, or "intifada", as in 2000, in events which lasted five years and claimed thousands of lives.

Abbas blamed the recent flare-up on Israel.

He said it stems from "a feeling of disappointment in the young [Palestinian] generation, which basically don't see any hope" of a future Palestinian state.

He said it's also linked to Israel's "non-respect" of the "status quo" on Temple Mount and to Israeli settler violence.

"Settlers in the West Bank go out among houses and villages, protected by the Israeli army, and commit killings and attacks against Palestinian nationals. These are the direct causes of the deterioration in the situation".

The Temple Mount in Jerusalem is one of Judaism and Islam's holiest sites.

Jews are allowed to visit but not to pray there, under an accord which goes back more than 200 years. But Israeli hardliners, including in the government, are calling for the old pact to be scrapped.

Abbas told press he's ready to resume peace talks and to live "side by side" with Israel if first stops settlement expansion.

Mogherini said the Temple Mount status quo is "very important not only for the Palestinian people, but, I'd say for all people in the world".

She said she shares Abbas' "frustration" on the stalled peace process.

"What we're looking for is concrete steps on the ground, including difficult ones, which can improve the everyday lives of Palestinian people … and, on the other side, which can guarantee more security for Israeli people", she said.

The Abbas visit comes amid attempts by both sides to win European sympathy.

For its part, the Israeli EU embassy the same day circulated an electronic flier which lists recent Palestinian attacks.

It accused Abbas of incitement, citing him as having said, on Palestinian TV on 16 September: "We welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem".

Israel's ambassador to the EU, David Walzer, in an op-ed published on the Politico website last week, added: "What is needed is for the EU to use its clout to help end the spate of attacks against Israeli citizens".

He criticised EU plans to publish a code for European retailers on how to label Israeli settler products.

"Seeing European shops label Jewish products brings back some very painful memories for many Israelis", he said, referring to anti-Semitism in Europe on the eve of World War II.

Palestinian officials note Israeli leaders are also enflaming the situation, however.

Israel's deputy foreign minister, Tzipi Hotovely, said on TV on Monday: "My dream is to see the Israeli flag flying over the Temple Mount … It's the holiest place for the Jewish people".

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, last week, said the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem instructed Hitler to burn Jews, in a claim denounced as false by historians.

The feeling in some circles in Europe was reflected in an ad, published in The Guardian, a British daily, on Tuesday.

The text, signed by 343 academics, pledged to stop cooperation with Israeli educational institutions on grounds of "Israel's illegal occupation of Palestinian land, the intolerable human rights violations that it inflicts on all sections of the Palestinian people, and its apparent determination to resist any feasible settlement".

The same newspaper, last Thursday, published a letter by more than 150 artists, including Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, opposing cultural boycotts.

EU diplomats feel helpless on Israel violence

Diplomats say normal communication channels ill-equipped to address "individual" violence, while Israeli and Palestinian officials trade blame on "incitement".

Israeli MPs to resume work on NGO gag laws

Flow of information to outside world on Israeli settler and military abuses could diminish, as Knesset resumes work with NGO gag laws on its agenda.

Interview

Palestinians join exodus to EU, says PLO's Erekat

Palestinians are joining the Middle East exodus to Europe in greater numbers because of the Syria war and Israeli occupation, Saeb Erekat, a senior Palestinian official told EUobserver.

Feature

Lebanon crisis overshadows EU aid for Syrian refugees

Lebanon hosts over one million Syrian refugees, and has received some €1bn in EU funds. Caught in a geo-political tug of war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, Lebanon's domestic politics have cast a longer shadow over its Syrian 'guests'.

EU complicit in Libyan torture, says Amnesty

The EU and its members states have signed up to 'Faustian pact' with Libyan authorities in the their effort to prevent migrant and refugee boat departures towards Italy, says Amnesty International.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Dialogue PlatformThe Gülen Community: Who to Believe - Politicians or Actions?" by Thomas Michel
  2. Plastics Recyclers Europe65% plastics recycling rate attainable by 2025 new study shows
  3. European Heart NetworkCommissioner Andriukaitis' Address to EHN on the Occasion of Its 25th Anniversary
  4. ACCACFOs Risk Losing Relevance If They Do Not Embrace Technology
  5. UNICEFMake the Digital World Safer for Children & Increase Access for the Most Disadvantaged
  6. European Jewish CongressWelcomes Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and Calls on EU States to Follow Suit
  7. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Boost Innovation Cooperation Under Horizon 2020
  8. European Gaming & Betting AssociationJuncker’s "Political" Commission Leaves Gambling Reforms to the Court
  9. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Applauds U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital City
  10. EU2017EEEU Telecom Ministers Reached an Agreement on the 5G Roadmap
  11. European Friends of ArmeniaEU-Armenia Relations in the CEPA Era: What's Next?
  12. Mission of China to the EU16+1 Cooperation Injects New Vigour Into China-EU Ties

Latest News

  1. Estonia completes two out of three priority digital bills
  2. EU countries are not 'tax havens', parliament says
  3. Tech firms' delays mean EU needs rules for online terror
  4. Slovak PM: Human rights are not a travel pass to EU
  5. British PM limps to EU capital after Brexit defeat
  6. US pleads for clarity on Brexit aviation 'black hole'
  7. Tusk migration note prompts institutional 'hysteria'
  8. Migration looms over summit, as Africa pledges fall short

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EPSUEU Blacklist of Tax Havens Is a Sham
  2. EU2017EERole of Culture in Building Cohesive Societies in Europe
  3. ILGA EuropeCongratulations to Austria - Court Overturns Barriers to Equal Marriage
  4. Centre Maurits CoppietersCelebrating Diversity, Citizenship and the European Project With Fundació Josep Irla
  5. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceUnderstanding the Social Consequences of Obesity
  6. Union for the MediterraneanMediterranean Countries Commit to Strengthening Women's Role in Region
  7. Bio-Based IndustriesRegistration for BBI JU Stakeholder Forum about to close. Last chance to register!
  8. European Heart NetworkThe Time Is Ripe for Simplified Front-Of-Pack Nutrition Labelling
  9. Counter BalanceNew EU External Investment Plan Risks Sidelining Development Objectives
  10. EU2017EEEAS Calls for Eastern Partnership Countries to Enter EU Market Through Estonia
  11. Dialogue PlatformThe Turkey I No Longer Know
  12. World Vision7 Million Children at Risk in the DRC: Donor Meeting to Focus on Saving More Lives