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Abbas to Putin: Israeli-occupied West Bank poised for ‘explosion’

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and head of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas

Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas has told Russian President Vladimir Putin that Israeli raids and other acts of aggression have put the occupied West Bank on the brink of an “explosion.”

Abbas told the Russian president during a telephone conversation on Thursday that Israeli settlements, land confiscation, home demolitions and "settler terrorism" are becoming a casus belli for a new revolt in the West Bank, the official Wafa news agency reported.

“The continuation of these Israeli measures will lead to an explosion of the situation,” the Palestinian Authority head added.

He also rejected “economic and security steps" offered by Israeli leaders, saying they are not "a substitute for the political track."

The Palestinian leadership will have to take “key decisions” at an important session of the Central Council of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) expected to be held in the coming months, he said without elaboration.

The remarks came following Abbas' rare visit to Israel on Tuesday for talks with Israeli minister of military affairs Benny Gantz that the Israelis said focused on “security and civil matters”.

Abbas said in the absence of a political track, the Israeli regime continues to stifle the Palestinian economy and deduct from tax revenues.

Russia is a member of the Middle East Quartet of international mediators, along with the UN, the US and European Union.

The Palestinian Authority president said Israel’s endless settlement expansion, its confiscation of Palestinian lands, and its demolition of Palestinian homes and “settler terrorism” are creating an undercurrent of rage and insurrection among the Palestinians. 

According to figures by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, during the course of the first 10 months of 2021, Israeli settlers carried out 410 attacks against Palestinians, compared to 358 in the whole of 2020.

The meeting with Gantz at his home was the first by Abbas since 2010. Months earlier, Gantz visited Abbas in Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian Authority (PA), which rules over the West Bank.

Since 1967, Israel has kept expanding settlements in the occupied territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds.

Now more than 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements, all of which are illegal under international law.

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