Abbas ignores Biden call to condemn attacks on Israelis


Ramallah (Palestinian Territories) (AFP)

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas on Thursday said he opposed all forms of violence but ignored a call from US Vice President Joe Biden to explicitly condemn attacks on Israelis.

"Our hand is outstretched in peace founded on justice and respect for the rights of everyone," Abbas told a joint press conference in Ramallah with visiting Romanian President Klaus Iohannis.

"We are against violence, extremism and terrorism, wherever it comes from."

Israel and the Palestinian territories are experiencing a wave of violence that has killed 188 Palestinians, 28 Israelis, two Americans, an Eritrean and a Sudanese since October 1, according to an AFP count.

Most of the dead Palestinians are perpetrators or alleged perpetrators of attacks, which have taken place more or less daily over the past five months.

Biden criticised Palestinian leaders for not condemning attacks against Israelis, after several occurred during his visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories this week.

"The United States of America condemns these acts and condemns the failure to condemn these acts," he said while meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Wednesday.

Six separate attacks took place shortly before and after Biden's arrival Tuesday, including a stabbing spree on Tel Aviv's waterfront by a Palestinian who killed an American tourist and wounded 12 other people.

Seven Palestinian perpetrators were killed, police said.

Biden met Abbas in Ramallah on Wednesday but neither made any comments to reporters after the meeting.

Abbas's office later published a statement blaming Israel's settlement building for the violence.

Abbas expressed his condolences for the killing of the American tourist in Tel Aviv but added that "the occupation forces (of Israel) killed 200 Palestinians in the past five months."

"The current situation is intolerable," Abbas said Thursday, adding that peace "requires crucial decisions by the Israeli government, through an immediate settlement freeze, stopping settler attacks and respecting Palestinian sovereignty on Palestinian lands according to agreements."