Israel slams Palestinian president speech for ‘incitement’

Jerusalem, Oct 15 (IANS) Israel on Thursday condemned remarks made by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in which he blamed Israel for the escalation in violence between Israelis and Palestinians in recent weeks.

“Abu Mazen’s comments last night were incitement and lies,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said in a statement, referring to Abbas’ speech a day earlier, Xinhua reported.

In the televised speech, Abbas accused Israel of escalating violent actions and using excessive force against Palestinians.

He specifically blamed Israel for executing a 13-year-old Palestinian, who was suspected of carrying out a lethal stabbing attack in Jerusalem.

Netanyahu’s office rejected the accusation.

“The youth he is talking about is alive and hospitalised in Hadassah Hospital after he stabbed an Israeli youth,” the statement said.

The Israeli prime minister’s office also said that Israel wishes to maintain the status quo at the holy site of Al-Aqsa in East Jerusalem.

“Abbas, with his words of incitement, makes cynical use of religions and thus brings about terrorism,” the statement read.

The US also criticised Israel’s conduct on Wednesday, with the State Department suggesting Israel might have used excessive force, mostly in its treatment of alleged Palestinian suspects, and denounced Israel’s expansion of settlements in the West Bank as one of the factors for the current escalation.

US Secretary of State John Kerry was reportedly planning to visit the region in hopes of stopping the violence and restarting a diplomatic dialogue between Israel and the Palestinians.

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