President warns of 'bloody intifada' unless Israel halts military operations in West Bank and says he will meet Netanyahu 'anywhere, anytime'
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas warned on Thursday that the PA is on “the brink of collapse” and called on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to halt military operations in occupied West Bank areas to prevent a slide into a "bloody intifada".
Speaking to Channel 2 journalist Ilana Dayan in a long televised interview, Abbas also said he "was prepared to meet Netanyahu anywhere, anytime”.
He expressed frustration that security cooperation was one-sided and warned that without a fair security agreement, a full “bloody intifada” would bring chaos across Palestine.
“Give me responsibility for the Palestinian territories, and test me... if Israel has specific intelligence information, give it to me and I’ll handle it. If I don’t handle it, he [Netanyahu] can come and do it, correct? But they don’t give me the intelligence information…So what am I doing here? Where is the security cooperation? You want me to be your employee. Your agent. I don’t accept this. I want to do it myself,” he said.
"If we give up on security coordination there will be chaos here. There will be rifles and explosions and armed militants popping up everywhere and rushing at Israel. Without coordination, a bloody intifada would break out. I want to cooperate with the Israelis. There is an agreement between us and I am not ashamed of it. But [Netanyahu] must respect it."
A wave of violence since October has claimed the lives of more than 200 Palestinians by Israeli military forces and settlers. Nineteen Israelis were killed in attacks by Palestinian individuals during the same time period.
Abbas condemned the wave of stabbing attacks conducted by Palestinians in recent months, but said they were actions borne out of desperation.
“I would have to be crazy to tell my son that this is the right thing to do,” he said.
“It is forbidden to spill blood for any reason. I am against this. I want peace. Give me peace in exchange. How will you give me peace? When a child does not see hope for peace, what will he do? Answer me, what will that child do?”
“Ask yourselves why a 15-year-old takes a knife and knows he’s going to die, and still goes. Ask yourselves why. It’s because he has no hope.”
Abbas ended the interview by mentioning the Israeli soldier caught on video shooting a wounded Palestinian in the head.
“This is inhumane, to shoot a living man. I don’t want to blame the entire Israeli people. I know the Israelis are human beings. They are humane. But unfortunately, we read the responses and the protests in Israel against putting the soldier on trial, against arresting him. Such statements are disturbing and frustrate us a great deal.”
Back in January, Abbas said the Palestinian Authority would not dissolve, in an apparent answer to Israeli government warnings of its expected collapse.
“We tell the Israelis that peace is the correct way, and we hope that you will understand us,” Abbas said. “We are here to stay and we will not leave.”