Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas’s senior adviser has warned Israel that if it rejects a fresh initiative to restart the dormant peace talks, that a third intifada or uprising could erupt,.
Europe’s streets and capitals were “at stake” and would be hit by terrorists who would hijack the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, warned Husam Zumlot.
Palestinians are now pushing for a new international supervised set of peace talks with ground rules and a timeline for a deal — after previous negotiations for a ‘two-state solution’ collapsed.
France launched the idea, suggesting a peace conference by the end of the year to get talks going. However, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu says a deal can only be reached by direct talks.
Speaking to European reporters in Ramallah, Mr Zumlot, strategic affairs adviser to President Abbas, described ongoing illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank and mounting frustration among Palestinians. Over half a million Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements, mostly built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank.
Settlements have resulted in the demolition of Palestinian schools, confiscation of land and the segregation of roads, say EU aid officials in the West Bank. Some critics also compare this to apartheid in South Africa.
Mr Zumlot said Palestinians wanted to “close off” bilateral or direct talks with Israel, as this was “a toy” Israeli governments had used to manage the conflict and deepen “colonisation”.
“Our alternative to bilateralism, because Israel is not willing, is multi-lateralism. That’s why if you neither do that nor you do this, then our situation has shown you a hundred times that second day of a vacuum is eruption.”
“The French initiative, if it doesn’t go, a vacuum will come out,” said Mr Zumlot.
Asked if he feared there would then be another intifada, he replied “yes”. “I don’t like the concept because we are in a continuous intifada. I feel heightened confrontation, yes. I fear an all-out confrontation. I fear that by continuing pressuring from this extreme, fascist, maximalist agenda of Netanyahu ... the conflict is going to go out of hand.
“If things get out of hand, Europe will be affected most by the situation more than America. Your own interests and your own streets and capital is at stake.”