Bloomberg the Company & Products

Bloomberg Anywhere Login

Bloomberg

Connecting decision makers to a dynamic network of information, people and ideas, Bloomberg quickly and accurately delivers business and financial information, news and insight around the world.

Company

Financial Products

Enterprise Products

Media

Customer Support

  • Americas

    +1 212 318 2000

  • Europe, Middle East, & Africa

    +44 20 7330 7500

  • Asia Pacific

    +65 6212 1000

Communications

Industry Products

Media Services

Follow Us

Abbas Asks Palestinians to Avoid Escalation Amid Protests

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas chairs a meeting of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Photographer: Abbas Momani/AFP via Getty Images

Feb. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he won’t allow protests across the West Bank to escalate into more violent conflict with Israel while other leaders hailed the beginning of a new Palestinian uprising.

Abbas spoke today as Israel bolstered its security forces across the territory and thousands attended a funeral for a Palestinian who died in an Israeli prison, prompting accusations he was tortured. Israel said there was no evidence of torture and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held consultations with security advisers on addressing the unrest.

“The Israeli side wants to create chaos,” Abbas said at his headquarters in Ramallah. “We will not let the Israelis drag us into” a wider conflict.

The death in Israel’s Megiddo prison of Arafat Jaradat, a 30-year-old Palestinian from a village near Hebron, has added to tensions caused by a hunger strike to protest conditions for thousands of Palestinian inmates. The demonstrations have galvanized calls for a tougher Palestinian response to Israel’s 46-year occupation of the West Bank.

“This is the new intifada,” Mustafa Barghouti, a rival to Abbas in the 2005 presidential election, said in a telephone interview, using the Arabic word associated with two previous uprisings. “A popular resistance has started.”

Security Consultations

Netanyahu issued a statement saying that he was consulting with Israeli security officials to prevent further violence.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said the talks included Lieutenant-General Benny Gantz, the military chief of staff, as well as top police and prison authority officials, “with the goal being to restore calm while maintaining security,” according to a statement from Barak’s office.

The top United Nations official managing Middle East peace efforts, Robert Serry, warned in a statement that “mounting tensions present a real risk of destabilization” between Israelis and Palestinians. He called for an “independent and transparent investigation” of Jaradat’s death.

“I don’t think we are seeing a third intifada, but there could be a deterioration that no one expected,” Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch told Army Radio. “This needs to be dealt with through readiness on the part of intelligence units and preparedness of the forces on the ground, so that they act with great restraint.”

The U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem cited demonstrations across the territory when it issued a travel warning today, limiting official trips by its personnel in the West Bank and barring personal trips to Bethlehem.

To contact the reporters on this story: Fadwa Hodali in Ramallah at fhodali@bloomberg.net; Jonathan Ferziger in Tel Aviv at jferziger@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net

Please upgrade your Browser

Your browser is out-of-date. Please download one of these excellent browsers:

Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera or Internet Explorer.