Mohammed Dahlan, the former Fatah leader in Gaza and a senior PA legislator, told Israeli Radio listeners Sunday that a Jewish presence in eastern Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria is equivalent to Arab terrorist suicide bombings. "What is the difference between blowing up a bus in Tel Aviv and taking over Palestinian land?" he asked rhetorically.
Dahlan also warned Israel that violent riots in the capital will continue as long as Jews visit the Temple Mount, which was re-opened to Jews on Sunday. Police refused to allow Jews to visit the holy site last week after hundreds of Muslims threw rocks at Jewish worshippers at the Western Wall (Kotel) and rioted in several locations in eastern Jerusalem.
Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, reeling from Arab criticism for backing a U.S. effort to defer a proposal that the United Nations General assembly discuss the Goldstone report, now wants the body to accept the report. It accuses Israel of committing 'war crimes' in the Operation Cast Lead counterterrorist campaign in Gaza from late December to mid-January.
The United States has denied that it pressured Abbas last month to support the American position and instead stated that attention should be on resuming talks between the PA and Israel regarding a proposed new Arab state in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.
Abbas also has dug in on demands that a future PA state include “every inch” of eastern Jerusalem, where 300,000 Jews live in the neighborhoods of Gilo, French Hill, eastern Talpiot and Ramot, among others. U.S. President Barack Obama supported the PA stand last June, when he claimed in Cairo that Jewish neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem are “settlements” which he called “illegitimate.”
The hard-line stand by Abbas, leader of the Fatah party, has cast dark shadows on attempts by U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell to work out a compromise that would lead to renewed PA-Israeli negotiations. Mitchell recently left Israel empty-handed after his latest visit to the region.
Even American media, that frequently oppose Israel's building for Jews in Judea and Samaria, sharply criticized President Obama for publicly stating that Israel must stop all Jewish construction in the area as well as in eastern Jerusalem. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu publicly refused to agree with Obama. Meanwhile Abbas’s aide Yasser Abed Rabbo, leaning on Obama’s statements, insisted that "the Israelis need to acknowledge that the 1967 borders are the borders between the two states, and this is the foundation of any negotiations.”
Opposition to considering the PA a “peace partner” is growing with in Prime Minister Netanyahu’s own Likud party. Knesset Member Gilad Erdan said Monday morning, “We have no partner on the other side,” and he accused Abbas of "fanning the families of hatred” by blaming Israel for encouraging Jews to live in the eastern part of the capital.