Abbas: Palestinian Attacks on Israelis Are Result of Young Generation's Despair

PA officials say gap widening between political leadership and people on the street as Palestinian president reiterates conditions for return to peace talks.

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Palestinian youth hurl stones at Israeli policemen in protest against the death of a teenager, in Wadi Joz neighborhood of East Jerusalem, September 7, 2014.
Palestinian youth hurl stones at Israeli policemen in protest against the death of a teenager, in Wadi Joz neighborhood of East Jerusalem, September 7, 2014.Credit: AFP

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Monday that young Palestinians who have participated in a recent spate of car-ramming, stabbing and shooting attacks aren't being sent by his party or any other Palestinian group and that the popular uprising is the result of a feeling of despair that characterizes the young generation among the Palestinians.

"The young generation, which has already grown weary of the two-state solution, is forced to deal with the roadblocks, the settlements and the aggressiveness of the settlers - which was reflected in the murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, the arson of the Dawabsheh family home and the aggression toward al-Aqsa," according to Abbas.

The Palestinian president's comments came at the opening of a conference on the fight against corruption in Ramallah, and he added to his speech that a return to negotiations with Israel would be conditioned on the release of the fourth group of veteran prisoners, the setting of a date for the creation of a Palestinian state, and the recognition of all agreements signed between Israel and the Palestinians since 1993.

Earlier Monday, a political pamphlet distributed by the Palestinian factions was spread throughout the West Bank and Jerusalem bearing the headline "No voice before the voice of the Intifada." According to the manifest, the Palestinian people will be the force that drives events and not the political leadership in Ramallah.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, September 16, 2015.Credit: AP

Senior figures in the PA told Haaretz that the divide between people on the streets and the political leadership was tangible. "We know there is heavy pressure from the street that's culminated in a situation of heated despair," they said. "Everyone who considers himself a leader of the Palestinian people understands that the street demands answers - and in the meantime there are none." 

According to their assessment, Abbas isn't in a hurry to make any decisions that seriously risk relations with Israel, and he's waiting for developments in the UN and the Security Council.

Even as Abbas spoke to the anti-corruption conference, a new poll released by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research revealed that some two-thirds of Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip support the use of knives in the current confrontations with Israelis, back the resignation of the Palestinian President, and advocate abandoning the Oslo accords with Israel.

Meanwhile, the family of Abed Almohsin Hassoneh, who committed a car-ramming attack in Jerusalem Monday and was shot to death, set up a mourning tent in Hebron. Family acquaintances said he is registered as a resident of Beit Hanina, but that the family is originally from Hebron. Hassoneh's uncle told Haaretz that the family does not know what happened at the scene of the attack and that his father and other relatives were brought in for questioning after the event.