AFP – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has accused Israel of “ethnic cleansing,” days after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a similar allegation.
The remarks follow Netanyahu’s claim during an address rejecting criticism of Israeli settlement building that the Palestinians were seeking a state with “no Jews.”
Netanyahu called that “ethnic cleansing,” drawing a strong rebuke from the United States.
Speaking on Sunday night before the Eid Al-Adha prayer, Abbas said the Israelis “don’t want to progress one iota toward peace, in spite of their deceptive allegations.”
“On the contrary, they go deeper with their settlements, infringement of holy places, ethnic cleansing and deliberate killing,” he said, according to official Palestinian news agency WAFA.
In a video address on Friday, Netanyahu said that the Palestinian leadership wanted a state on the basis of “no Jews.”
“There’s a phrase for that, it is called ethnic cleansing,” he said. The US State Department called the video “unhelpful” and “inappropriate.”
“We obviously strongly disagree with the characterization that those who oppose settlement activity or view it as an obstacle to peace are somehow calling for ethnic cleansing of Jews from the West Bank,” spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau said.
In his Eid address, Abbas also reiterated he was in favour of meeting Netanyahu in Russia, with President Vladimir Putin looking to mediate between the two sides.

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