Middle East

With Greek PM, Abbas decries ongoing Israeli violations

Speaking alongside Greek premier, Palestinian president warns Israel not to turn perennial Mideast conflict into 'religious' dispute

Aness Suheil Barghoti   | 26.11.2015
With Greek PM, Abbas decries ongoing Israeli violations

Filistin

RAMALLAH, Palestine

In a joint address delivered Thursday with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas warned Israel not to turn the ongoing Palestine-Israel conflict into a "religious" dispute.

"The arrest and killing of the Palestinian people, along with violations by [Jewish] settlers of Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem, can no longer be tolerated," Abbas declared in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

He went on to warn Israel against turning the perennial political conflict between the Palestinians and Israel into a religious one.

"The Palestinian people face dangerous conditions," Abbas asserted.

"The ongoing Israeli occupation and economic blockade, along with the absence of any political horizon, have created the current state of despair and insecurity and prompted a reaction from Palestinian youth," he added.

Abbas accused the Israeli government of derailing all opportunities over the last 22 years to achieve peace with the Palestinians.

"Israel has destroyed the foundations of all political, security and economic agreements [it has made with the Palestinians]," he said, going on to assert that the Palestinian Authority rejected any "partial" or "interim" solutions to the conflict.

"We will maintain our obligations to international treaties and conventions with a view to safeguarding the rights of our people and strengthening the foundations of our state," Abbas said.

Tsipras, for his part, expressed his concern about the ongoing construction of Jewish-only settlements on Palestinian land in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

"We are concerned about the [Israeli] policy of settlement expansion, which comes at the expense of the rights of the Palestinian people," the Greek prime minister said.

He also stressed the importance of safeguarding the historical status of Jerusalem’s holy places, including the Al-Aqsa Mosque (Haram al-Sharif).

Tsipras went on to urge Israel to take "bold steps" on the Palestinian issue, stressing his support for any international initiative in this regard.

"We must achieve a two-state solution with a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders and with East Jerusalem as its capital," he said.

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