Abbas asks EU to help calm surging violence

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a media conference after a meeting at the EU External Action Service building in Brussels on Monday, Oct. 26, 2015. (AP)

The European Union’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini met Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas late on Monday to discuss “concrete steps” to calm the surge of violence between Israelis and Palestinians.

“We have a meeting tonight to discuss the ways EU can contribute to a de-escalation,” Mogherini said in brief comments before a working dinner.

The EU’s diplomatic chief said she hoped the pair would discuss “concrete steps on the ground, including difficult ones, that can strengthen the Palestinians on an everyday basis”.

The European Commission is the biggest provider of financial aid to the Palestinians, providing more than $6.19 billion to Abbas’ Palestinian Authority since 1994.

Mogherini, who met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Berlin on Thursday, admitted there was “a certain degree of frustration” in Europe over the peace process, which collapsed in April 2014 amid bitter recriminations.

Abbas repeated his criticism of what he said was Israel’s “non-respect” for the rules at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound which is at the center of the recent wave of violence.

“The situation in Palestine is extremely serious and grave and may even deteriorate. This is my fear,” he said.

“The main reason is the feeling of disappointment (among) the young generation,” who feel there is “no hope,” Abbas said.

Palestinians are wary of Israel of seeking to change the status-quo that allows Jews to visit, but not to pray there. Israel denies it has, or plans to, violate the rules.

Stabbings and violent protests have become daily occurrences since simmering tensions over the compound boiled over in early October, leaving scores dead.

Abbas urged a revival of peace negotiations, calling for Israel to halt settlement-building in the West Bank and prevent “incursions” on the al-Aqsa compound.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:47 - GMT 06:47