Abbas fears deterioration amid wave of terror attacks

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In Brussels meeting with EU foreign policy chief, PA president cites ‘disappointment among young generation, feeling of hopelessness

The European Union’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini met Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas late Monday to discuss “concrete steps” to calm the surge of violence between Israelis and Palestinians.

Before opening the talks, Abbas told reporters the situation was “extremely serious and grave.”

Abbas added, “it may even deteriorate, and that is my fear.”

“The main reason is the feeling of disappointment [among] the young generation,” who feel there is “no hope,” Abbas said.

There have been almost daily Palestinian attacks against Israeli civilians and security forces. In the past five weeks, 10 Israelis have been killed in Palestinian attacks, mostly stabbings, while at least 51 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire, including 30 attackers and the rest in clashes.

Abbas repeated his criticism of what he said was Israel’s “non-respect” for the rules at Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism and the third-holiest in Islam, which is at the center of the recent wave of violence.

Palestinians accuse Israel of seeking to change the rules that allow Jews to visit, but not to pray there. Israel has repeatedly and vehemently denied it seeks to change the status quo and has said that such allegations amount to incitement to violence.

Abbas urged a revival of peace negotiations, calling for Israel to halt settlement-building in the West Bank and prevent “incursions” on the Temple Mount.

Mogherini said before the meeting with Abbas that she hoped the pair would discuss “concrete steps on the ground, including difficult ones, that can strengthen the Palestinians on an everyday basis”.

The European Commission is the biggest provider of financial aid to the Palestinians, providing more than 5.6 billion euros ($6.19 billion) to Abbas’ Palestinian Authority since 1994.

Mogherini, who met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Berlin on Thursday, admitted there was “a certain degree of frustration” in Europe over the peace process, which collapsed in April 2014 amid bitter recriminations.

She said Monday she is seeking concrete steps that will improve the lives of ordinary Palestinians, strengthen the Palestinian Authority and better guarantee Israelis’ security.

 

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