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February 7, 2020 6:18 am

Kushner Blames Abbas for Surge of Palestinian Violence After Peace Plan Unveiling

avatar by Reuters and Algemeiner Staff

A Palestinian rioter hurls stones at Israeli troops during a protest against US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan, in the West Bank city of Hebron, Feb. 6, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Mussa Qawasma.

Palestinian and US leaders blamed each other for a surge of violence, as mourners gathered in the West Bank for the funeral of a Palestinian police officer shot dead during unrest, and Israel tightened security ahead of Friday Muslim prayers.

Tension were high a day after two Palestinians were killed and 16 Israelis injured amid Palestinian anger at US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan, unveiled last week with Israel‘s prime minister at his side.

A funeral was held on Friday in the West Bank village of Azzun for a Palestinian police officer who was shot dead in Jenin the previous day. Palestinian authorities said he was killed by Israeli gunfire. Israeli officials did not comment, and Israeli media reported he was shot by troops by mistake.

Palestinian Authority (PA) negotiator Saeb Erekat asserted Washington was to blame for the unrest unleashed since the plan was unveiled.

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“Those who introduce plans for annexation and the legalizing of occupation and settlements are really responsible for deepening violence and counter-violence,” he said. PA President Mahmoud Abbas would go to the UN Security Council with “a genuine peace plan,” Erekat said.

Trump’s senior adviser Jared Kushner, the principal architect of the US plan, has repeatedly denounced the Palestinian leadership, a break from decades of diplomacy when Washington strove to appear as a neutral broker. On Thursday, he blamed Abbas for the violence.

“I think he does have responsibility,” Kushner said on Thursday after briefing UN Security Council ambassadors. “He calls for days of rage in response, and he said that before he even saw the plan.”

Israeli police said security chiefs had met late on Thursday and decided to increase security “across the country, with emphasis on Jerusalem.”

A police statement blamed Palestinian incitement for unrest, and singled out the risk of trouble during Friday prayers at the Jerusalem holy site known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary.

Palestinians have long boycotted relations with the Trump administration, which they view as biased against them. Washington says its peace plan offers a path toward a Palestinian state, and blames the Palestinian leadership for rejecting it over unrealistic demands.

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