Abbas asks for EU help in crisis with Israel

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas asked the help of the European Union to de-escalate the crisis with Israel, which he blamed on policies and actions of the Israeli government.

Abbas visited Brussels on Monday, meeting with European Union leaders, including Federica Mogherini, the foreign policy chief. In the face of violence in Jerusalem, EU officials have been trying to restart the mideast peace process. Before opening talks Monday evening with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini in Brussels, Abbas told reporters the situation was “extremely serious and grave.”

Abbas added, “It may even deteriorate, and that is my fear.”

There have been almost daily Palestinian attacks against Israeli civilians and security forces. In the past five weeks, 10 Israelis have been killed in Palestinian attacks, mostly stabbings, while 52 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire, including 30 said by Israel to be attackers and the rest in clashes.

Palestinians are frustrated by the failure of numerous rounds of peace talks to secure them an independent state in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza, territories Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war.

The last round of negotiations collapsed in 2014.

More than 50 Palestinians, half of them assailants, have been shot dead by Israelis at the scene of attacks or during protests in the West Bank and Gaza since Oct. 1. Nine Israelis have been stabbed or shot dead by Palestinians.

Stabbings and shootings mostly have been carried out by “lone wolf” attackers, many of them teenagers.

Palestinian factions, including the militant group Hamas and the Fatah movement of Western-backed President Mahmoud Abbas, had called for Day of Rage rallies after Friday prayers, though protests were less intense than in previous weeks. The Quartet of Middle East peace mediators, met in Vienna on Friday last week and urged Israeli and Palestinian leaders to tone down their rhetoric and calm tensions.


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