Abbas: Israel the one performing ethnic cleansing

PA chairman fires back at Netanyahu's video, says the remarks are “toxic wind gusts”.

Orli Harari ,

Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas
Hadas Parush/Flash 90

Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas responded on Sunday to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's video from Friday in which he said that the PA's demand that a Palestinian state be free of Jews is ethnic cleansing, and stated that the concept of ethnic cleansing for peace is absurd.

Speaking in a speech broadcast on official PA television, Abbas described Netanyahu's remarks as “toxic wind gusts”, adding that the purpose of the video is to break the will of Palestinians.

"We are not as not isolated as the Israeli government is trying to show. The government of the occupation is the one that's isolated, because it does not want to advance one step in the direction of peace,” he charged.

“[The Israeli government] continues to build settlements, desecrate holy sites, perform ethnic cleansing and premeditated murder, which brings them international criticism all over the world. We do not blow balloons in the air about peace. We call to implement it on the ground,” continued Abbas.

The State Department on Friday also condemned Netanyahu's video, saying the administration believed that using the term “ethnic cleansing” was “inappropriate and unhelpful.”

"We obviously strongly disagree with the characterization that those who oppose settlement activity or view it as an obstacle to peace are somehow calling for ethnic cleansing of Jews from the West Bank. We believe that using that type of terminology is inappropriate and unhelpful," State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau told reporters, adding that Israeli construction in Judea and Samaria raises "real questions about Israel's long-term intentions in the West Bank."