Journalists disappointed: No questions allowed at Mogherini-Abbas press point in Brussels

| October 28, 2015 | 0 Comments

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By Yossi Lempkowicz

Journalists who covered the press point by EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas ahead of their meeting Monday evening (26 October) in Brussels left the European External Action Service (EEAS) building with a feeling of disappointment as their weren’t allowed to ask any question after both leaders made short statements.

No question to President Abbas on incitement to violence that has led to almost daily Palestinian attacks against Israeli civilians and security forces. In the past five weeks, 10 Israelis have been killed in these attacks, mostly stabbings. “Is killing and stabbing a civilian population acceptable and justified in the name of what Abbas has called “popular resistance ?”, was the question I had prepared for the PA President.

No question on why the PA leader didn’t condemn these terror attacks.

Instead of responding to Mogherini’s call for ‘’concrete steps’’ on the ground to calm down the situation, improve the daily lives of Palestinians and better guarantee the security of the Israeli people, Abbas repeated his previous statements blaming the Israeli government for the current spate of violence.

He said young Palestinians have been “disappointed’’ and ‘’don’t see any hope”, telling reporters the situation was “extremely serious and grave’’ . ”It may even deteriorate, and that is my fear,” he said.

Abbas said one of the main reasons for the situation is Israel’s alleged non-respect of a status quo agreement regarding the Al Aksa Mosque in Jerusalem.

But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who met Mogherini last week in  Berlin, has adamantly denied such allegations, saying they amount to incitement to anti-Israeli violence by “spreading lies.”

On Sunday, he again confirmed that “Israel will continue to enforce its longstanding policy: Muslims pray on the Temple Mount; non-Muslims visit the Temple Mount.” The Al Aksa Mosque is located on the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism.

Even Mogherini, after her talks with the Israeli Prime Minister in the German capital, stated that he was “clearly commitment to guarantee the status quo in the holy sites”.

About a week ago, Abbas falsely claimed that Israel “set out to kill” a 13-year-old Palestinian boy. In fact, however, the boy had taken part in a stabbing attack against two Israeli youths in Pisgat Ze’ev, a Jerusalem neighborhood, and was not killed – he was injured and taken to hospital for treatment.

Another cause for the outburst of violence, Abbas said, were ”killings and attacks on Palestinians” he said have been carried out by armed West Bank settlers “protected by the Israeli army.” But he didn’t mention the daily attacks against Israelis.

Since the wave of stabbings and other attacks started the PA leader has verbally supported violence, reacting to it by declaring: “Each drop of blood that was spilled in Jerusalem is pure blood as long as it’s for the sake of Allah. Every shahid (martyr) will be in heaven and every wounded person will be rewarded, by Allah’s will.”

Mogherini said she wanted also to speak with Abbas ways to a political process “that would lead to the two-state solution.”

“We look forward to an independent state of Palestine living side by side with the state of Israel,” Abbas said, urging the Israeli government ‘’to stop the settlements in order to revive the negotiations.”

“The false claim that an increase in settlement construction let to this last wave of terrorism is simply a lie,” Netanyahu said last week as he mentioned that settlement building has declined in the last six years.

Data from the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics indicate that under Netanyahu housing starts in settlements dropped 19 % and the number of finished settler homes fell 15 % when compared wth 2003 to 2008.

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Category: A Frontpage, EU, European Commission, Israel

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