Middle East Eye / May 12, 2021
United Arab List leader, who met with Naftali Bennett on Sunday, says protests ‘moving in a very dangerous direction’.
United Arab List Leader Mansour Abbas, who has been touted as a kingmaker in ongoing efforts to form a government in Israel, has called for an end to protests against Israeli aggression.
Abbas said: “Protests in Arab society are moving in a very dangerous direction, as popular protests have escalated into violence. This is a threat to peace for young Arabs.”
Many Palestinians came out on Tuesday evening across large parts of many Palestinian cities and towns in Israel and in the occupied West Bank to reject recent attacks on Palestinians in Jerusalem and Gaza.
Hundreds of Palestinian citizens of Israel took to the streets of various cities, including Nazareth, Haifa, Jaffa, and Lod (which is called Lydda by Palestinians).
The demonstrators denounced the attacks on Gaza and voiced solidarity with residents of the occupied East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah who face imminent expulsion from their homes.
Demonstrations also took place in the cities of Umm al-Fahm, Al-Mashad, Tamra, and Arara, amongst others. A heavy Israeli police presence was present on the ground.
Crowds were dispersed using tear gas and rubber-coated bullets in several towns.
Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said 270 people had been arrested in Israel and Jerusalem on Tuesday in police and border police operations, and 12 police officers were injured.
Abbas appealed to politicians from his former partner the Joint List alliance, as well as local leaders, and called on them to urge Palestinians to refrain from violence and respect the rule of law before further damage was caused.
“I call on everyone to behave responsibly and to adhere to the rule of law,” he said. “I call on our leadership to act accordingly and to call on everyone to calm down and protect public order.”
Abbas has previously called on Palestinian citizens of Israel to rethink their political alliances and be open to Jewish parties, be they national, religious, or ultra-Orthodox if party policies served their community interests.
Prior to the March 2021 elections, he said he would back any coalition government willing to cooperate with the Palestinians on key issues.
After the inconclusive election, he was in negotiations with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party to back his efforts to form a government.
After those efforts failed, Abbas met on Sunday with Yamina leader Naftali Bennett who sought his support for a government led by Bennett and Yesh Atid’s Yair Lapid.
Abbas did not finish outlining his demands during his meeting with Bennett, but political sources said that he was interested in joining the government.
On Monday, Abbas announced a suspension of coalition negotiations due to the security situation in Israel.
As of Wednesday, Israeli airstrikes on Gaza had killed at least 53 Palestinians, including 14 children.
Five Israelis have been killed by rockets fired from Gaza, including one child and one woman.