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‘Abbas’s speech about Jerusalem was incitement’

Posted by Zamir Ben Etzioni on February 26, 2012

By HERB KEINON AND KHALED ABU TOAMEH 02/26/2012 20:25

Netanyahu says Israel expects someone who is pro-peace not to “disseminate lies, incitement.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu in cabinet meetingBy Kobi Gideon/Flash90/Pool

The Prime Minister’s Office issued a harsh response to a speech by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on the future of Jerusalem, calling Abbas’s comments “harshly inflammatory” from someone who “claims that he is bent on peace.”

“Israel expects that one who supposedly champions peace would prepare his people for peace and coexistence and not disseminate lies and incitement,” the statement said. “This is not how one makes peace.”

The statement said that Jerusalem has been the eternal capital of the Jewish people for thousands of years, and that under Israeli sovereignty it will “continue to be open to believers of all faiths.”  The statement said that Abbas “knows full well there is no foundation to his contemptible remarks.”

Abbas on Sunday called on Arabs and Muslims to visit Jerusalem, saying this was not a form of “normalization” with Israel.

In a speech before the International Conference for Defending and Protecting Jerusalem in Doha, Abbas emphasized the need to bring the issue of Jerusalem before the UN Security Council.

“Visiting a prisoner is an act of support and does not mean normalization with the warden,” Abbas said, comparing Palestinians to prisoners and Israel to the warden.

“Jerusalem should be the central title in relations between Arab and Islamic countries and the world.”

Abbas accused Israel of working toward obliterating the Arab, Islamic and Christian character of east Jerusalem with the goal of “Judaizing” the city and consolidating it as its capital.

He also accused Israel of pursuing a policy of ethnic cleansing and destroying Jerusalem’s infrastructure and economic resources.

Abbas urged Arab and Islamic countries to support the Palestinians in the city in various fields, including education, housing and health.

East Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Palestine and Israel’s decision to annex east Jerusalem is null and void, the PA president told the conference.

Abbas also complained that since the early 1990’s Israel has been preventing Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip from visiting Jerusalem and the holy sites.

“Jerusalem is our identity; it is the beginning and the end for us,” Abbas added. “Jerusalem is the key to peace and the beating heart of our homeland.”

The conference is being attended by representatives of some 70 countries, as well as an Israeli Arab delegation headed by MK Ahmed Tibi.

Robert Seri, special envoy of the UN Secretary-General to the Middle East, is also attending the conference.

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