Abbas blames Israeli government for settler violence

Published August 6th, 2015 - 08:30 GMT
Al Bawaba
Al Bawaba

The Israeli government bears full responsibility for settler violence and maintains a "culture of terrorism and apartheid" against Palestinians, President Mahmoud Abbas said Wednesday during a meeting of Arab foreign ministers.

Wednesday's meeting had initially been called to discuss clashes late last month at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem but the brutal murder of 18-month-old Palestinian toddler Ali Dawabsha last week has turned attention to settler violence in the occupied territories.

"If the Israeli government does not take steps to catch the perpetrators of the crime against the Dawabsha family it will be a partner of these crimes," Abbas said.

Israel refuses to stop settlement activity and rejects any demarcation of an official border for the country, Abbas told ministers, adding that the Israeli government has also continued to refuse the release of a fourth group of 104 pre-Oslo prisoners as agreed upon before peace talks last year.

The president said he holds the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, responsible for the failure to pressure Israel to release the Palestinian detainees.

The impending closure of UNRWA schools due to a lack of funding could place Palestinian children in the region at the risk of radicalization by "terrorist" groups, Abbas added.

"The Arab Group (at the UN) must act to submit a draft resolution to the Security Council concerning terrorist crimes by Israeli settler groups against the Palestinian people," League chief Nabil al-Arabi said before the meeting.

"We must seriously think about real international protection for the Palestinian people," he added. "What is required is real international protection, through a Security Council decision."

In a statement later, the ministers said they had agreed to "hold Arab and international consultations to present the Security Council with a draft resolution".

According to a new report by the PLO, settlers have carried out over 11,000 attacks on Palestinians and their property, land, and religious sites since 2004.

Over 85 percent of investigations into settler violence are closed without indictments, Israeli rights group Yesh Din says.

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