Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has criticized what he described as "racist and worrisome" comments made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu following the victory of the latter's Likud party in this week's parliamentary polls.
"We have followed the Israeli elections and did not interfere in it. But we heard Netanyahu's remarks – that there would be no two-state solution and Jerusalem would be Israel's unified capital – which are worrisome," Abbas told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting of the Palestine Liberation Organization in Ramallah.
"Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman called for beheading the Arabs in Israel, which is totally racist," he added.
The Palestinian leader went on to say that the remarks indicated Israel's lack of seriousness about resolving the decades-long conflict.
Unofficial results of Tuesday's polls indicate that Netanyahu's right-wing Likud party had won 30 seats, while the center-left Zionist Union alliance had come in second with 24 seats.
Peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators ground to a halt one year ago over Israel's refusal to release a group of Palestinian prisoners despite earlier pledges to do so.
The roots of the Palestine-Israel conflict date back to 1917, when the British government, in the now-famous "Balfour Declaration," called for the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.
In 1948, with the expiry of a UN "mandate" awarded earlier to Great Britain, a new state – Israel – was declared inside historical Palestine.
As a result, some 700,000 Palestinians fled their homes, or were forcibly expelled, while hundreds of Palestinian villages and cities were razed to the ground by invading Jewish forces.
Israel went on to occupy East Jerusalem and the West Bank during the 1967 Middle East War. It later annexed the holy city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the self-proclaimed Jewish state – a move never recognized by the international community.
Palestinians want their own independent state in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
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