Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas has rebuked Western countries for adopting “double standards” after they imposed tough measures against Russia over its military operation against Ukraine while they ignored Israel’s “crimes” against the Palestinians.
“The current events in Europe have shown blatant double standards,” Abbas told visiting US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a news briefing in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah on Sunday, referring to the Russia-Ukraine military conflict.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “special military operation” in Ukraine on February 24. The conflict has provoked a unanimous response from Western countries, which have imposed a long list of sanctions on Moscow.
“Despite the crimes of the Israeli occupation that amounted to ethnic cleansing and racial discrimination... we find no one who is holding Israel responsible for behaving as a state above the law,” Abbas said.
Last year, Israel’s leading human rights group, B’Tselem, said in a report Israel is not a democracy but an “apartheid regime” that systematically oppresses the Palestinians via military occupation and racist laws.
The Tel Aviv regime, it asserted, is using “laws, practices and organized violence to cement the supremacy of one group over another.”
Israel occupied the West Bank and East al-Quds during the Six-Day War in 1967. It later annexed East al-Quds in a move not recognized by the international community.
Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state with East al-Quds as its capital.
During the Sunday meeting, Blinken claimed that “the United States is committed to rebuilding our relationship with the Palestinian Authority and with the Palestinian people.”
Israel has had Gaza, home to some two million Palestinians, under a tight siege since June 2007.
The all-out blockade has caused a dramatic decline in the standards of living as well as unprecedented levels of unemployment and unrelenting poverty. For all those devastating conditions, the Gaza Strip has been called the world’s largest open-air jail.
In the occupied West Bank, northeast of Gaza, Israeli forces and settlers regularly engage in acts of violence against Palestinians, continuing to steal their lands and desecrating their sanctities, including the al-Aqsa mosque, all while suppressing any form of protest.
About 600,000 Israelis now live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds.
Also, there are reportedly more than 7,000 Palestinians held in Israeli jails. Hundreds of the inmates have been apparently incarcerated under the so-called administrative detention, which is used by the regime to incarcerate Palestinians indefinitely without pressing formal charges or putting them on trial.
In February 2020, the Palestinian Authority severed ties with the US after Washington announced a controversial pro-Tel Aviv scheme, dubbed “the deal of the century”, which Washington claimed would resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The one-sided move provoked a strong backlash from Palestinians at the time.
Palestinians stopped recognizing any intermediary role by the US in late 2017, when then-US president Donald Trump took all his predecessors’ pro-Israeli measures to a whole new level by recognizing the holy city of al-Quds in the Israeli-occupied West Bank as Israel’s “capital.”
Under Trump, the US went on to broker normalization agreements between Israel and some Arab countries in late 2020, once again to the dismay of Palestinians.