Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, accused Israel on Thursday of carrying ethnic cleansing acts against the Palestinian people in East Jerusalem by barring them from building houses and isolating the city and its residents from the rest of the occupied West Bank.During his speech at the Organization of the Islamic Conference, which includes 57 countries, Abbas said that the success of US-led peace talks depend on Israeli commitment to the peace process. The summit was held in Senegal.
“Our people in Jerusalem are subjecting to ethnic cleansing as Israel is applying high taxes on them, and barring them from building houses”, Abbas said, “Israel also closed Palestinian institutions in the city, and isolated it from the rest of the West Bank by the annexation wall”.
Spokesperson of the Israeli Prime Minister, Mark Regev, slammed the statements of Abbas and described them as “incitement”.
Regev added that the peace process is already facing several obstacles, therefore the leadership should not be part of these obstacles “by voicing inciting statements”.
He claimed that Israel is committed to what he described as “historic reconciliation with the Palestinians people”, and added that the Palestinian Authority is a partner in this process and should act with Israel in order to “restore trust”.
Abbas and the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, held talks last year but the talks were suspended after Israel declared its intension to build hundreds of houses for Israeli settlers in the occupied East Jerusalem and around it.
Israel said that the construction will be “in areas that Israel would retain under any peace deal with the Palestinians”.
The Israeli government insists that the Annexation Wall, built on Palestinian-owned land deep inside the occupied West Bank, is for protecting Israel and its citizens. In its advisory ruling, the International Court of Justice considered that Wall as illegal.