Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday said he opposed “all forms of violence” but ignored a call from US Vice President Joe Biden to explicitly condemn terrorist attacks on Israelis.
“Our hand is outstretched in peace founded on justice and respect for the rights of everyone,” Abbas told a joint press conference in Ramallah with visiting Romanian President Klaus Iohannis.
“We are against violence, extremism and terrorism, wherever it comes from.”
Biden criticized Palestinian leaders for not condemning attacks against Israelis, after several occurred during his visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories this week.
“The United States of America condemns these acts and condemns the failure to condemn these acts,” he said while meeting Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Wednesday.
Six separate attacks took place shortly before and after Biden’s arrival Tuesday, including a stabbing spree on Tel Aviv’s waterfront by a Palestinian who murdered an American tourist and wounded 12 other people.
Biden met Abbas in Ramallah on Wednesday but neither made any comments to reporters after the meeting.
Abbas’s office later published a statement blaming Israel’s “settlement building” for terrorism.
Abbas expressed his condolences for the killing of the American tourist in Tel Aviv but added that “the occupation forces (of Israel) killed 200 Palestinians in the past five months.”
“The current situation is intolerable,” Abbas said Thursday, adding that peace “requires crucial decisions by the Israeli government, through an immediate settlement freeze, stopping settler attacks and respecting Palestinian sovereignty on Palestinian lands according to agreements.”
Most of the roughly 200 Palestinian killed were shot dead while attacking Israelis, while others were killed in clashes with IDF forces.
AFP contributed to this report
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