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Palestine President Urges Israel To Curb Settlers Provocations

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RAMALLAH/JERUSALEM – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called upon the
Israeli government on Monday to “curb settlers, their provocations and attacks”
against the holy sites and the unarmed Palestinian people, China’s Xinhua news
agency reported.

Abbas made the appeal during his meeting with his Indian counterpart Pranab
Mukherjee in the Presidential Headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

He said that Palestinian side is committed to the peace process -based on the
two-state solution- to establish the independent Palestinian state, with
Jerusalem as its capital, on the 1967 borders.

The official Palestinian News Agency (WAFA) said that Abbas briefed the
Indian leader of the latest situation in the Palestinian territory, and the
“dangerous Israeli escalation” demanding Israel to “implement its commitments
according to the signed agreements.”

Mukherjee said during a dinner reception Abbas conducted on his honor that
peace and stability in the region are an Indian benefit.

“We share the conviction with the Palestinian leadership that a fair and
permanent solution will help bring stability and security to the region and the
world,” Wafa quoted Mukherjee as saying. He added that diplomacy should replace
“hatred and violence.”

Confrontations between Palestinians on the one hand and the Israeli army and
settlers on the other hand flared up following the death of an Israeli married
couple earlier this month. Two Israelis were killed in stabbing and shooting
attacks in east Jerusalem.

The Palestinian health ministry announced on Monday that the Palestinian
death toll mounted to 26 since Oct 1, after the Israeli police killed a
15-year-old Palestinian north of Jerusalem.

The ministry added in a statement that 15 people were killed in the West Bank
while 11 were killed in Gaza. More than 1300 Palestinians were injured by live
and rubber-coated bullets, the ministry said.

The ministry noted that one-third of the killed Palestinians are children,
“which confirms that the Israeli occupation is directly targeting children,
where their injuries were focused in the upper body.”

However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Abbas on Monday of
denying political solutions to reducing the rising tensions.

He called on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to “firmly denounce” the
stabbing attacks, and blamed Abbas for refusing to find a peaceful solution to
the conflict.

He noted that claims accusing Israel in planning to take over East
Jerusalem’s flashpoint al-Aqsa mosque compound are “absolute lies,” saying that
the unrest around the holy site “comes from the desire to annihilate us.”

The Israeli leader also blamed Israeli-Arab parties for “undermining” the
country and “inciting” recent surge of attacks against Israelis.

Netanyahu said certain Arab lawmakers expressed support to violence against
Israelis. He called on Arab citizens of Israel to “repel the extremists among
you.”

About 1.6 million Arabs living in Israel have full Israeli citizenship, but
often complain about discrimination and racism.

Netanyahu warned his supporters that Arabs are voting in large number on
March’s elections day, and he is committed to “coexistence.”

Also on Monday, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian
refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) urged a political action to prevent further
escalation of the mounting tensions between the Palestinians and Israelis.

UNRWA expressed in a statement its deep alarm by the escalating violence and
widespread loss of civilian lives in the Palestinian territory and in Israel.

“The root causes of the conflict, among them the Israeli occupation, must be
addressed,” UNRWA statement said stating that there is a pervasive sense of
hopelessness and despair across the occupied Palestinian territory resulting
from the denial of rights and dignity.

UNRWA called upon all parties to protect the rights of children, particularly
their right to life, and for maximum restraint to ensure the protection of
civilians, in accordance with international law. Enditem

Tension has first started in east Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque compound in the
old city of Jerusalem after extreme Israelis broke into the compound conducting
prayers on the Jewish holidays.

– BERNAMA

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