Israeli Arab Leader to Palestinians: Stop Violence, Work Together for a State

Mansour Abbas, a Muslim Arab political leader who is also an Israeli citizen, issued a message Friday to the various Palestinian factions, urging them to abandon violence and to work together to push for a Palestinian state through political means.

Abbas, 49, leads the United Arab List (Ra’am) party in the Knesset, and was part of the previous Israeli government that served from 2021 through 2022.

In an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on The Situation Room, Abbas said that Hamas had done great damage to the Palestinian cause, and suggested a different, non-violent path forward:

Any action that is taken against innocent people — against women, children, elderly — is inhumane, and it goes against the values of Islam as well. And we categorically condemn this. This … cannot be justified, because it goes against all human values and religious values as well.

But at the same time, of course, we cannot forget that there is a political struggle that is happening. But the actions that the armed groups have decided to take, and to use violence in order to achieve their means, looking at the past, have always failed. And the victim of each and every one of those militant attempts have been the Palestinian people, who were the ones who paid the price. In this current conflict, we look at the number of people killed, we’re talking about over 15,000 Palestinians who lost their lives in this last war.

And in order to move forward, the Palestinian militant groups need to take down their arms. They need to work hand-in-hand with the Palestinian Authority in order to realize a national movement that will aspire for a state of Palestine with a peace resolution alongside with the state of Israel.

The Times of Israel noted that Abbas’s statement to CNN made him “the first Arab party leader in Israel’s history to publicly call on the armed Palestinian factions to demilitarize and work with the Palestinian Authority in order to establish a Palestinian state through non-violent means.”

In 2022, Abbas emphatically rejected claims that Israel is an “apartheid” state, saying that Jews and Arabs in Israel were trying to create “miracles” by working together.

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