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Abbas blames US for Israel’s ‘return to policy of incursions’

PA leader calls for immediate American intervention to stop military raids in the West Bank, submits request to Blinken for concessions in possible Saudi-Israel pact

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Tuesday that it holds the US responsible for Israel’s return to policies of  “killings and incursions into Palestinian cities, villages and refugee camps.”

Abbas’s statement, issued by the official spokesman for the Palestinian presidency, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, and reported by the official Palestinian news agency Wafa, came in reaction to an Israeli military incursion Tuesday morning into the Nur Shams refugee camp in the northern West Bank city of Tulkarm.

The PA called for “immediate US intervention to stop the Israeli aggression” beyond the US policy of “issuing statements that do not change anything on the ground,” adding that “the situation is on the verge of exploding” and that Israeli attacks will have “very dangerous repercussions for everyone.”

The Israel Defense Forces said troops entered the refugee camp to deal with a large cache of explosive devices, which was duly destroyed by combat engineering troops. Clashes resulted in the death of 21-year-old Palestinian Ayed Samih Abu Harb and heavy damage to property and infrastructure.

The statement came a day after a phone conversation between Abbas and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in which Abbas denounced the “terrorism” of Israeli settlers.

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Abbas also urged the US to force Israel to stop “aggressive practices,” adhere to signed agreements, and focus on the “political horizon” of a negotiated solution to end the conflict.

Explosive devices are seen detonated against IDF bulldozers in the Nur Shams refugee camp near Tulkarem, September 5, 2023. (Screenshot: X)

According to Wafa, Abbas presented Blinken with four requests in a bid to advance the two-state solution: US efforts to grant the Palestinian Authority full membership in the UN by a Security Council decision; an end to “all sanctions imposed on the Palestinians due to US laws,” referencing congressional legislation that characterizes the PA as a terror organization; the establishment of “normal relations” between the US administration and the State of Palestine, including reopening the US consulate in Jerusalem and an office for Palestine in Washington; and restoring the American direct aid program.

The conversation took place as American and Palestinian officials were scheduled to travel to Riyadh this week to meet separately with Saudi counterparts. The US delegation, led by White House Middle East czar Brett McGurk and Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf, is set to discuss a potential normalization agreement between the Gulf kingdom and Israel, while the Palestinians, led by Palestine Liberation Organization executive committee secretary-general Hussein al-Sheikh, will be in Riyadh to discuss what Ramallah is hoping to obtain from a Saudi-Israeli normalization deal.

Palestinian diplomatic sources have revealed that the delegation will seek to achieve “irreversible” concessions from Israel to advance the PA’s bid for statehood.