“If Abbas is not interested in holding negotiations, I’m sure someone else will want to,” Friedman said, angering the Palestinians.
By: World Israel News Staff
The Palestinian Authority (PA) on Thursday expressed rage after US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman intimated that PA head Mahmoud Abbas could be replaced as the Palestinian leader.
According to a report by Israel’s Channel 10, Friedman said that “if Abbas is not interested in holding negotiations, I’m sure someone else will want to. If Abbas creates a vacuum, I am convinced that someone will fill it – and then we will move forward [with the peace process].”
“There is no doubt that Mr. Friedman’s behavior and statements are irresponsible and solely guided to advance Israeli colonialism, an enterprise that he has been personally committed to as one of its funders,” charged Saeb Erekat, Secretary General of the PLO’s Executive Committee and chief negotiator with Israel.
“During his time as US Ambassador to Israel, he has worked tirelessly to advocate and legitimize Israeli violations while dehumanizing Palestinians, inciting against the Palestinian national movement, and now even calling for a change of leadership in Palestine,” he added.
Palestinian presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh described Friedman’s statements as “blatant and unacceptable interference in internal Palestinian affairs.”
He said the Palestinian people will not allow any foreign party, regardless of who that party is, to decide its fate.”
Elected in 2005, Abbas has ruled by decree since 2007 and has squashed any attempt to hold democratic elections since. The Palestinians have not had a chance to cast an actual ballot for president in over a decade.
Polls consistently indicate widespread discontent with Abbas and the long-ruling entrenched leadership around him.
Abbas has shown little tolerance for dissent, frequently breaking up protests and, in several cases, jailing people for critical Facebook posts.
Abu Rudeineh further charged that “this type of mentality, which serves only the interests of extremists and settlers, is what created ISIS [the Islamic State terror organization], extremism and violence.”
Abu Rudeineh called on the US administration to “put an end to such behavior, which harms the American people more than it harms the Palestinian people.”
“This administration should clarify its position from the continuing statements of its ambassador, which do not go with diplomatic norms,” he said.
Ongoing US-Palestinian war of words
This last sharp exchange of words between US officials and the Palestinians is the latest in an ongoing war of words.
Last week, President Donald Trump’s special Mideast envoy, Jason Greenblatt, harshly criticized Abbas for his vicious anti-Semitic attack on Friedman, whom he called “a son of a dog” and condemned for supporting Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria.
A day before, Friedman castigated the Palestinian leadership for its silence in the wake of two deadly terror attacks – a car-ramming in Samaria and a stabbing in the Old City of Jerusalem – that claimed the lives of three Israelis. Another two were seriously wounded, one critically.
“The time has come for President Abbas to choose between hateful rhetoric and concrete and practical efforts to improve the quality of life of his people and lead them to peace and prosperity,” Greenblatt tweeted in response to Abbas’ vicious words last Tuesday.