Abbas denies Jewish connection to Israel in speech to Palestinian leadership
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Abbas denies Jewish connection to Israel in speech to Palestinian leadership

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas denied a Jewish connection to Israel in a speech to the Palestinian leadership.

“Israel is a colonial project that has nothing to do with Jews,” Abbas said during a more than two-hour speech in Ramallah, to a meeting of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Central Council. The two-day meeting was held to formulate a response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Abbas alleged that once there was a state of Israel, its leaders could not convince Jews to immigrate to it. He also said that six million Jews preferred to be killed by the Nazis in Europe rather than leave for Israel.

During World War II British mandatory authorities prevented most Jewish immigration to Palestine.

He also alleged that Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, only grudgingly worked to force Jews in Arab countries to come to Israel after he determined that he could not fill the country with European Jews.

Abbas slammed Trump and vowed to not participate in any negotiations under the auspices of the United States.

“We are here to stay. We will not leave our villages. This is our land. We will take instructions from no one. We stick by our people, our land. We say to Trump, we will not accept his deal. The deal of the century has become the slap in the face of the century,” Abbas said.

“Today is the day that the Oslo Accords end. Israel killed them,” Abbas said. “We are an authority without any authority, and an occupation without any cost. Trump threatens to cut funding to the authority because negotiations have failed. When the hell did negotiations start?!”

He added that “any future negotiations will take place only within the context of the international community, by an international committee created in the framework of an international conference. Allow me to be clear: We will not accept America leadership of a political process involving negotiations.

Abbas called U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman a “settler.” He vowed to never meet with Friedman.

He also attacked Israel, for example alleging that “Israel has imported frightening amounts of drugs in order to destroy our younger generation.”

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin condemned Abbas remarks in a meeting Monday in Jerusalem with a delegation of AIPAC Board of Directors.

“What we heard yesterday from Mahmoud Abbas, was terrible. He returned back to the ideas he expressed decades ago, when they were no less terrible. To say Israel is the result of a Western conspiracy to settle Jews in land belonging to Arab populations? To say that that the Jewish people has no connection with the land of Israel? He forgot many things, and said exactly the things that led him to be accused years ago of anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial,” Rivlin said.

The president added: “These are precisely the things that block us. In his words he is rejecting our return to our homeland, even though Abu Mazen (Abbas) knows very well that the Koran itself recognizes the land of Israel as our land. Without this basic recognition we will not be able to build trust and move forward.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also responded to Abbas’s remarks in a statement issued from India, where he is on an official visit: “I head what Abu Mazen said. He has revealed the truth. He has torn off the mask and shown to the public the simple truth that I have been working to instill for many long years: The root of the conflict between us and the Palestinians is their steadfast refusal to recognize the Jewish state in any borders whatsoever.”