Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas will prevent a third Arab intifada (uprising), the PA’s foreign minister declared on Friday, speaking to Reuters in an interview.
"I can assure you that as long as President Abu Mazen is in charge, there will be no third Intifada," said the minister, Riad al-Malki, referring to Abbas by his nom de guerre.
Al-Malki further told Reuters that Israel’s operation in Judea and Samaria following the kidnapping of three Jewish youths a week ago was unacceptable. Nevertheless, he said, Abbas would continue assisting Israel in an effort to end the crisis.
"We will do our utmost to help because if the situation continues as it is, this will end up (with) the destruction of what we have built in Palestine," Malki said.
He further warned that a recent reconciliation deal with Hamas would be threatened if, as Israel said, it is found to be responsible for abducting the three youths.
Malki stopped short of acknowledging that Hamas was responsible for the kidnapping. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu unequivocally stated earlier this week that the Islamist terrorist group was behind the kidnapping.
"If Hamas is behind it, and nobody knows up until now, then it will be a blow to the reconciliation process," Malki told Reuters.
"If we reach that conclusion, then [Abbas] will take drastic decisions," he added, without elaborating.
Malki said that although the Israeli reaction to the kidnapping "went beyond logic", the Palestinian Authority was committed to peace.
Malki’s rhetoric appears to have been somewhat toned down compared to an interview earlier Friday with the AFP news agency, in which he flat out accused Israel of fabricating the abduction.
"He (Netanyahu) cannot keep blaming one side without showing evidence," he said. "When you go to court if you don't show evidence you lose your case," said Malki. "If Netanyahu has any evidence, he has to put it on the table."
The foreign minister then reversed himself, acknowledging that "three kids have disappeared," but went on to attack the IDF for cracking down on Hamas's terror infrastructure in Judea and Samaria, in which around 330 terrorists have been arrested and over 1,100 locations searched in a desperate attempt to find the teens.
"The Israeli army has taken 300 Palestinians...they have destroyed more than 150 Palestinian homes since last week," claimed Malki. "Their reaction went beyond logic and what infuriates me the most is the lack of reaction from the international community."
While the kidnapping has raised some tensions between Hamas and Abbas, the PA Chairman has since reversed his critical statements of the Hamas kidnapping and restated his support for the unity government.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)