More than 300 Israeli students from across Israel met with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas Sunday in Ramallah, as part of an initiative by the Kol Echad (‘One Voice’) group and Labor MK Yehiel ‘Hilik’ Bar.
Much of what was said was unsurprising. Abbas reiterated his position at meeting in the Muqakta compound, that he would not recognize Israel as a “Jewish State” because he has no idea what that is, so to speak, and that in any case it isn’t up to him to define Israel’s character.
“If you want to go to the UN and change your name, go to the UN and change your name,” he said to the student assembly, “[but] I recognize the State of Israel – not a Jewish and democratic state.”
Abbas also claimed that there will be no division of the “Al-Aqsa compound”, referring to the Temple Mount – Judaism’s holiest site – insisting that it was an exclusively Muslim site. “There will be no division of Al-Aqsa – the Christians will be at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and the Jews will be at the Kotel [Western Wall],” he stated.
On the question of whether Jews currently living in Judea and Samaria would be allowed to stay as a minority within a future Palestinian State – considering that Israel has a sizable Arab minority of its own, he fired, “there is no comparison.”
“You cannot compare the Arabs who live in Israel now, who have been living here for thousands of years, with the settlers, who came yesterday or today,” he claimed.
Modern-day Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria were re-established following the 1967 Six Day War, after being ethnically-cleansed by the Jordanian Arab Legion in 1948.
At another point in meeting Abbas expressed his anger at Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria and sarcastically added that he is afraid to sleep at night for fear that when he wakes up in the morning, there will be another Jewish ‘outpost’ in the Muqata.
Turning to the largely left-wing audience at one point, he urged them directly to “stop the settlers”, accusing Jews in Judea and Samaria of committing “murders”.
“The settlers are cutting down trees, and wreaking destruction,” he said. ” They are not just settling our land, they are also killing us – you must stop them!” he urged.
It was not clear what instances of “murder” Abbas was referring to, though his comments mirror regular PA incitement against Jews living in Judea and Samaria, in which “the settlers” are portrayed in crudely anti-Semitic terms, and deserving of violent treatment.
Ironically, in the same speech Abbas admitted that incitement existed in the PA – but said that Israel was to blame by holding up initiatives to halt incitement in PA media.
“I oppose incitement,” he claimed. “We wanted 14 years ago to set up a joint committee with Israel, but Israel did not agree.”
Israel rejected a US proposal to hold a joint committee on incitement last month on the grounds that a committee would only cover up further incitement from the Palestinian Authority.
The request was made after the Israeli cabinet was presented with a detailed report, prepared by the Director-General of Steinitz’s ministry, on the incitement and the culture of hatred in the PA.
The findings presented to the ministers show that incitement against Israel and the Jewish people is continuing on official media channels including – inter alia – by bodies that are very close to the PA Chairman and in educational and religious networks.
Steinitz responded to the American offer by saying that Israel had already presented the PA with central examples of its incitement and noting “this, too, was redundant, because they know what they’re doing.”
Steinitz also said, “If they want us to at least consider convening the committee, then they should stop, at least for a few weeks, the incitement on the media that is controlled by Abbas.”
Peace talks between Israel and the PA resumed last summer, but that has not stopped the PA from inciting against Israel in its media and in public speeches given by its officials. Many of these incidents have been reported by Arutz Sheva.
Recent incidents of incitement include the glorification of the murderer of 61 Israeli civilians on the official Facebook page of Abbas’s Fatah party.
Last month, an official PA newspaper claimed that Netanyahu has “Nazi genes.” This occurred just days before International Holocaust Memorial Day