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Abbas to Israeli Druze leaders: “We want to make peace” and “renounce violence, terror and extremism”

Headline: "The president: There are those who do not want that and who are fomenting the war in places like those and others"

In meetings and interviews with foreign audiences, Abbas frequently expresses that peace is the only option for the Palestinians. However, as PMW has documented, this is rarely the message PA leaders present to Palestinians. 

"[PA] President [Mahmoud Abbas] hosted a delegation of the Druze people, led by Sheikh Zidan Al-Atsheh, and a delegation from the International Girls' Camp organized by the Fatah Shabiba [student] movement yesterday [April 2, 2016] at the presidential headquarters in Ramallah…

The president blessed the Druze delegation and said: 'You, from where you are, are messengers of peace. We want you to be messengers of peace between the state to which you belong (i.e., Israel) and the people to which you belong (i.e., Palestinians). There are many things that we can do together in order to reach the peace that we all hope for.' He added: Peace is the dearest, most ideal and most important goal for all of us. There are those who do not want peace and are fomenting the war in places like those and others, and therefore we support peace and renounce violence and terror.'

The president continued: 'We must hurry and build peace here, and find the ideal solution, which is simple - the Palestinians and the Israelis will live in two states that will exist side by side in peace and stability, because we want our children and grandchildren to live a normal, good, and prosperous life.'

He said: 'We reach out our hand in peace. We know that there are those who do not want peace and who rebuff the outstretched hand, but this hand will remain outstretched until we make peace, even if it is late in coming. We must not lose hope. We must work in our land, look to the future, endure, and remain resolved. We learn from you, the Druze, because you stood firm in your country and held on to your ground. You did not listen to the calls of those who said 'Leave!' – and that is what we will do.

The president added: 'If peace is achieved, all of the Arab and Islamic states, with no exceptions – according to the Arab peace initiative – will recognize Israel and normalize relations with it. This exists [in the Arab peace initiative] and nobody can deny it, so what prevents us from establishing peace today? What are we waiting for? More blood? We do not want any more of anyone's blood to be spilled, regardless of his religion or race. We do not want one drop of blood of a child, an elderly person, or a woman to be spilled. We want a normal life, is that not our right?'

The president said: 'If peace is achieved here, the war will end in other places, and the excuse will be gone for all those trying to use Palestine and the [Palestinian] cause in order to commit [acts of] terror and murder. Therefore, our mission is holy, and we must act for it immediately. We are capable of bringing peace to our people, so what is preventing this?'

He added: We are not against Judaism, but rather against those who occupy our land. They should leave. But we have no problem with Judaism as we also have a [holy] book'…

Sheikh Zidan stated: 'We appreciate President Abbas’ standpoints. Our visit today is recognition of his wise leadership.'… He added: President Abbas is the Gandhi of the Arabs. We declare our opposition to violence, settlements, and the expropriation of land. As forces of peace, we must work to alleviate the tragedies and disasters, and we trust the leadership of President Abbas and his wisdom.'

During the reception for the delegation from the International Girls' Camp… the president said: 'We say to the world that we want to make peace, and that we renounce violence, terror, and extremism. We do not want a drop of anyone's blood to be spilled. Our neighbors must reach their hand out to us so that we will make peace in this region, and thus the excuses for extremism and terror will end throughout the world.'

The president added: 'We support the peaceful popular uprising ‎(term here refers to events that include violence against Israeli civilians such as rock-‎throwing, stabbings, and even shootings -Ed.)‎. We have been occupied for 68 years, until when will the occupation continue despite all of the international support for us?

Mahatma Gandhi led the Indian independence movement against the British, using non-violent civil disobedience to protest British rule and lead India to independence, which was obtained in 1947. Gandhi's method of resistance has inspired civil rights and freedom movements throughout the world.

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