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April 23, 2023 4:19 pm

Mansour Abbas to i24NEWS: ‘We Must All Reject Violence’

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Mansour Abbas, who heads the Raam faction, attends a hearing at Israel’s Supreme Court in Jerusalem March 14, 2019. Photo: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun.

i24 NewsViolence should be discarded and condemned “in all its manifestations” for Jews and Arabs to have a common future as neighbors, Mansour Abbas, arguably the most prominent Arab Israeli lawmaker of the day, told i24NEWS in an exclusive interview.

“We think that this demand is a compulsory for all of us, and we should push the violence in all of its manifestations aside, and we should engage in peace and in construction. We need to treat the wounds of both sides, to translate into the reality the goals of both sides, in order for us to reach a solution that would be acceptable for both sides,” Abbas, chair of the United Arab List faction, said.

Abbas stressed that he regards himself and fellow Arab citizens of Israel as Israelis, and rejected attempts by Palestinian leadership including the Hamas terrorist group to enlist Arab Israelis against Israel on the side of the Palestinians.

“Since 1978 the PLO decided to establish the Palestinian state. Did they treat us as we were a part of Palestinian people, inside this decision? No,” he said. “And in the Oslo accords – did they treat us as part of the Palestinian people? No. They treated us as if we were Arab citizens within the State of Israel. By the way, even today the Palestinian leadership, of course not all of it, is saying that Palestinians inside Israel are separate, and they have a different status.”

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Abbas was asked about his rise to political prominence in Israel, which some see as having been facilitated by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a right-winger with a long record of contentious rhetoric on Arabs.

Netanyahu, who held talks with Abbas concerning an unlikely political coalition, has recently denounced the lawmaker as an “Islamist.”

Abbas hinted at Netanyahu’s alleged duplicity, saying that “his true face is already exposed, I left this subject behind my back. Indeed there were talks. Nothing came out. This subject is behind me now. I’m not competing with Benjamin Netanyahu in this field.”

“My credibility within the Israeli community is well known,” he further added. “Every word I say comes out balanced and truthfully. And everyone can testify to this.”

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