Abbas Not Interested Seeing Palestine Flag Waving in Tel Aviv

PA president calls on Arab leaders in Israel to moderate Palestinian nationalist discourse so as not to serve Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's interests, says Jews and Arabs need to deepen cooperation against nation-state law

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Wednesday, August 15, 2018
Majdi Mohammed,AP

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Monday that he was not interested in seeing Palestinian flags flying in Tel Aviv. Abbas' words come after several Palestinian flags were waved by marchers during the demonstration against the nation-state law in Tel Aviv Saturday night.

Abbas was speaking at a meeting with Arab activists from Israel. According to one of them, the Palestinian president also called on the Joint List and the Arab leadership in Israel to moderate the Palestinian nationalist discourse so as not to serve Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

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According to the Palestinian news agency Wafa, Abbas called to deepen the cooperation between Jews and Arabs to fight the nation-state law and the occupation. Abbas’ bureau was pleased by the protests against the law – by Arabs and Druze – whilst expressing concern about what influence the law could have on the Palestinians and the Arab public in Israel.

A source present at the meeting told Haaretz that Abbas spent considerable time on the need for Arabs and Jews to cooperate in the struggle to end the occupation. “We felt that the Palestinian president is quite disappointed and bitter about the Arab world and the international community, and therefore thinks that continuing the Jewish-Arab struggle can lead to a change for the better,” the source said.

One person in the meeting proposed that during the next elections a Jewish-Arab party should be promoted or that the Joint List cooperate with Meretz. Another participant in the meeting, former MK Taleb al-Sana, said Abbas did not address this idea. According to him, “Abu Mazen [Abbas] spoke about increasing cooperation with Israeli society.”

Abbas reiterated his opposition to the nation-state law in a speech he delivered Wednesday to the Palestinian Central Council in Ramallah. The Palestinian president also announced that the PA would continue to support prisoners and the families of terrorists.

“Yigal Amir, the murderer of a prime minister, was given the opportunity to marry and be reunited with his wife and receive allowances and benefits. Our prisoners are freedom fighters and they deserve to have us support them,” he said.

In his speech, Abbas called on the Palestinians to support the struggle against the evacuation of the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar near Kfar Adumim in the West Bank, and expressed opposition to plans to build 20,000 new apartments in Jerusalem.