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Abbas to Harvard students: We believe in peaceful negotiations, we are not terrorists

Headline: "The [PA] president: We are truly suffering, and we do not know where the coming months will lead us"

"[PA] President of the State of Palestine Mahmoud Abbas received a student delegation from Harvard University in the US yesterday [March 23, 2019] in the presidential headquarters in Ramallah [and said to them:]…

(The following is an excerpt of the speech Abbas gave the students:)

'First, I will say that we, the Palestinian people, want to receive an independent Palestinian state whose capital is East Jerusalem in the 1967 borders, while achieving agreements on the unresolved matters, which we discussed together with the Israelis in the Oslo Accords.

Second, we want to achieve our right and state peacefully, in other words, through negotiations. We will not choose another path to achieve our right other than negotiations. We are always saying that we extend our hand to the Israeli government, which the Israeli people elects, in order to hold negotiations on the basis of these principles, which we did not invent – they were consolidated by the international institutions…

Third, we believe in peace and believe in security for everyone. We have 83 cooperation agreements for the war on terror with 83 states, including the US…

[The Israelis] have deducted the amount of the salaries that we pay to the families of the Martyrs  and the prisoners (refers to the Anti "Pay-for-Slay" Law to deduct terrorist salaries; see note below –Ed.), and said: “These are criminals and murderers, you must not pay them.”

Now we are suffering greatly from the loss of a large part of our money – 70% of our budget. Therefore we have been forced to pay half salaries to the public employees, and next month perhaps 40%. In the end we might be forced not to pay the salaries and the expenses of the institutions and the state, and the reason for this is the Israeli government…

[Former PLO Chairman and PA President] Yasser Arafat, peace be upon him, said: “I recognize Israel's right to exist,” and we signed this agreement [the Oslo Accords] at the White House. So how can Congress call us terrorists? How? I turn to Congress, its Democratic side and its Republican side – let's talk. Convince me that I’m a terrorist, or I’ll convince you that I’m not a terrorist. Unfortunately, until now they are refusing to meet with us, and [US President Donald] Trump has made his decisions based on this. For 25 years we have been received in the White House, and here we receive the [US] presidents with the honor guard and the Palestinian flag. We received President [Bill] Clinton, President [George] Bush, President [Barack] Obama, and in the end, President Trump.'"

 

Israel's Anti "Pay-for-Slay" Law - Israeli law stating that the PA payments to terrorists and the families of dead terrorists is a financial incentive to terror. The law instructs the state to deduct and freeze the amount of money the PA pays in salaries to imprisoned terrorists and families of "Martyrs" from the tax money Israel collects for the PA. Should the PA stop these payments for a full year, the Israeli government would have the option of giving all or part of the frozen money to the PA.  The law was enacted by the Israeli Parliament on July 2, 2018, and its first implementation was approved by Israel's Security Cabinet on Feb. 17, 2019, when it decided to withhold 502,697,000 Israeli shekels (approximately $138 million) from the PA. In response, the PA announced it would not accept any of the tax money collected by Israel unless it also included the frozen amount.  During the initial parliamentary vote in 2018, the law's sponsor Avi Dichter said: “The Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee received much help in its deliberations... from Palestinian Media Watch who provided us with authentic data that enabled productive and professional deliberations, nuances that are very difficult to achieve without precise data.” [Israeli Parliament website, July 2, 2018]

 

Yasser Arafat – Founder of Fatah and former chairman of the PLO and PA. During the 1960s, 70s and 80s Arafat was behind numerous terror attacks against Israelis. Although he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994 together with then Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and then Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs Shimon Peres “for their efforts to create peace in the Middle East" after signing the Oslo Accords peace agreement, Arafat launched a 5-year terror campaign - the second Intifada (2000-2005) – in which more than 1,000 Israelis were murdered. Arafat died of an illness in 2004.

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