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End to Israel occupation to eradicate global terrorism: Abbas

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas delivers a speech at the European Union Parliament in Brussels on June 23, 2016. ©AFP

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has censured Israel for turning the occupied territories into an “open-air prison,” saying terrorism could be eliminated from the entire world if the regime’s occupation comes to an end.

In a lengthy speech at the European Parliament in Brussels on Thursday, Abbas slammed Tel Aviv’s “never-ending provocations” and “fascist policies” and said even senior Israeli politicians sharply criticize the regime’s current leadership.

Abbas highlighted three Israeli wars on the blockaded Gaza Strip, which left thousands of people dead, saying since 1967, the regime has imprisoned over a million Palestinians.

Israel “has turned our country into an open-air prison,” said Abbas, calling on EU states to help bring an end to Israeli occupation as a step towards the elimination of global terrorism and extremism.

“Once the occupation ends, terrorism will disappear, there will be no more terrorism in the Middle East, or anywhere else in the world,” he said.

The Palestinian leader further decried the global community for remaining silent on Israeli crimes against Palestinians.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas delivers a speech at the European Union Parliament in Brussels on June 23, 2016. ©AFP

“Their [Palestinians’] history, heritage, identity and geopolitical entity were historically massacred in the twentieth century, and that the massacre is still ongoing through the twenty first century under the eyes and ears of the international community,” he said.

He also said the regime keeps accusing Palestinian officials for encouraging violence against Israelis, while an Israeli rabbi has called for the poisoning of Palestinian water.

“Only a week ago, a number of rabbis in Israel announced, and made a clear announcement, demanding that their government poison the water to kill the Palestinians,” Abbas said.

“Isn’t that clear incitement to commit mass killings against the Palestinian people?” he asked.

He was referring to a report in Turkish media earlier this month saying an Israeli rabbi had made such a call.

Since last October, tensions have been running high between the Israeli military and Palestinian protesters, in what analysts describe as a new intifada against Tel Aviv. At least 217 Palestinians have so far been killed by Israeli troops so far.

Abbas further voiced support for a so-called peace initiative put forward by France aimed at renewing stalled talks between Israelis and Palestinians; however, he rejected the possibility of reaching an interim agreement with Tel Aviv.

Earlier this week, EU foreign ministers supported a French initiative to call an international conference aimed at reviving the Israeli-Palestinian talks, which came to a halt in 2014.

Tel Aviv’s illegal settlement activities and its refusal to release senior Palestinian prisoners were among the major sticking points that led to the collapse of the so-called peace talks.

Palestinians are seeking to create an independent state on the territories of the West Bank, East al-Quds (Jerusalem), and the Gaza Strip. They are demanding that Israel withdraw from the occupied Palestinian territories.

Israel, however, has refused to return to the 1967 borders and is unwilling to discuss the issue of al-Quds.

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