Palestinians deny US charges of incitement, blame Trump plan

National

Palestinian protesters hurl stones towards Israeli soldiers during clashes in the West Bank city of Hebron, Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020. Israeli forces have killed two Palestinians in clashes in the occupied West Bank and a third in Jerusalem after he opened fire at a police officer. The killings came hours after a car-ramming attack elsewhere in the city Thursday wounded 12 Israeli soldiers. Tensions have soared following last week’s release of President Donald Trump’s Mideast initiative, which greatly favors Israel and was rejected by the Palestinians. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

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JERUSALEM (AP) — The Palestinians on Friday rejected U.S. allegations of incitement after a day of clashes and attacks left three Palestinians dead and more than a dozen Israelis wounded.

They instead linked the violence to President Donald Trump’s Mideast initiative, which heavily favors Israel on all the most contentious issues of the conflict and would allow it to annex large parts of the occupied West Bank.

“Those who introduce plans for annexation and apartheid and the legalization of occupation and settlements are the ones who bear full responsibility for deepening the cycle of violence and extremism,” senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat said in a statement.

He was responding to remarks delivered the day before by Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and the architect of the Mideast blueprint, who had blamed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for the latest violence.

“Don’t call for days of rage and encourage (your) people to pursue violence if they’re not getting what they want,” Kushner said on Thursday. after briefing the U.N. Security Council on the plan.

He said Abbas “was surprised with how good the plan was for the Palestinian people, but he locked himself into a position” by rejecting it before it came out.

Erakat said Abbas will soon bring his own plan to the Security Council, one that he said is rooted in international law and based on a two-state solution along the 1967 lines.

The Palestinians want an independent state in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, territories seized by Israel in the 1967 war. They view Israel’s settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem — which are home to some 700,000 people — as a major obstacle to peace. Most of the international community views the settlements as illegal.

The Trump plan would allow Israel to annex all its settlements as well as the strategic Jordan Valley. It would give the Palestinians limited autonomy in several chunks of territory with a capital on the outskirts of Jerusalem, but only if they meet nearly impossible conditions.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has eagerly embraced the plan. The Palestinians have adamantly rejected it, but Abbas has not called for violence.

His security forces work with Israel to combat militant groups in the parts of the West Bank where Israel allows them to operate. Abbas has threatened to cut off security coordination in response to the Trump plan, but is not believed to have done so.

Abbas’ forces are not allowed to operate in Jerusalem, where two of the three attacks took place Thursday, or near the West Bank settlements. He has no control over the Gaza Strip, where the Islamic militant group Hamas seized power from his forces in 2007.

His policy of cooperating with Israel on security is deeply unpopular among Palestinians, many of whom see it as serving the Israeli occupation.

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