Abbas: Israeli Oppression and Despair Drive Palestinians to Terrorism

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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at a press conference in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, Jan. 6, 2016.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at a press conference in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, Jan. 6, 2016.Credit: AP

Palestinians killed by Israeli forces while carrying out attacks are martyrs, driven to violence by Israeli oppression and despair, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said at a press conference on Monday. The Palestinian leader also criticized a new diplomatic plan recently leveled by Israeli opposition leader Isaac Herzog.

"These are youths, acting on their own due to feelings of despair, anger and frustration they suffer due to the occupation, the absence of a diplomatic horizon, the humiliation in the checkpoints and the settlers' aggression," Abbas told Arab media journalists in his office in Ramallah. 

Abbas stressed that the Palestinian Authority does not incite to violence against Israelis, contrary to the accusations made by the Israeli leadership. "I'm opposed to violence against any man, no matter who he is," Abbas said.  

Asked about the new Labor party plan, which calls for taking steps to advance the two-state solution even if final-status negotiations cannot be held now, Abbas said he was not aware of it, even though he and Labor leader Isaac Herzog have relatively close ties. "I don't know what Herzog's motives are, and I don't understand his strategy saying that the situation isn't ripe enough and that we're not ready," Abbas said, adding: "But it's not surprising. When all is said and done, the Labor party is the father of the settlement enterprise and we know [its] history."

Abbas also remarked on the French initiative for an international conference on the conflict, saying that since the U.S. was opposed, it has little chance of materializing. "I don't know if France can stand against the U.S., but efforts are ongoing, vis-à-vis Russia and China, as well as several of the Arab states," he said. 

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