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'Settlements Are Destructive', Abbas Tells Peruvian President

After he blasts "settlements" as destructive, PA Chairman calls for "peaceful solution" to conflict.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 2/19/2014, 4:13 AM

Abbas meets Peruvian President Ollanta Humala
Abbas meets Peruvian President Ollanta Humala
Flash 90

Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday accused “Israeli settlements” in Judea and Samaria of being “destructive.”

According to the AFP news agency, Abbas made the comments in a meeting with Peruvian President Ollanta Humala. He also said that all issues in the peace negotiations with Israel, notably the refugee question, must be solved in line with international law.

"We have shown the Peruvian president the destructive consequences of the settlement enterprise and the need for a just solution of the refugee question in line with UN resolution 194," Abbas was quoted as having told reporters at a press conference with Humala.

"We also affirm the need to resolve all questions in line with international resolutions and law and to pursue all efforts to find a peaceful political solution to this conflict which has gone on for 65 years," he said, according to AFP.

Arab leaders point to Resolution 194, adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 11, 1948, as proof that Arab refugees have a right of return to Israel. However, Israel is not mentioned in the resolution and the Arab states even voted against it.

Abbas’s comments came ahead of a meeting between Abbas and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Paris on Wednesday. Kerry has spent months trying to get the two sides to agree on a framework for resolving their decades-old conflict, but the negotiations have shown little sign of progress.

According to AFP, Humala said it was a "great honor for a Peruvian president to be  making a first official visit" since Lima recognized “Palestine” as an independent state

That recognition came in January 2011, nearly two years before the Palestinian Authority won upgraded status as a UN observer state, a unilateral move which is against its obligations in the Oslo Accords.

Abbas’s remarks against the “settlements” marks the second time in the past few days that he leveled accusations against Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria.

On Sunday, as he met with nearly 300 Israeli students in Ramallah, Abbas  accused Jews in Judea and Samaria of committing "murders".

"The settlers are cutting down trees, and wreaking destruction," he said. " They are not just settling our land, they are also killing us - you must stop them!" he urged.

It was not clear what instances of "murder" Abbas was referring to, though his comments mirror regular PA incitement against Jews living in Judea and Samaria, in which "the settlers" are portrayed in crudely anti-Semitic terms, and deserving of violent treatment.

At the same meeting, the PA Chairman appeared to strike a conciliatory tone on two of the most divisive issues, saying he did not want to "flood Israel" with so-called “Palestinian refugees” and that there was no need to "re-divide" Jerusalem.