Abbas on 1st Appearance Since Death Rumors: Jerusalem is not for Sale

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas delivers a speech at his office in Ramallah on Wednesday. (Reuters)
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas delivers a speech at his office in Ramallah on Wednesday. (Reuters)
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Abbas on 1st Appearance Since Death Rumors: Jerusalem is not for Sale

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas delivers a speech at his office in Ramallah on Wednesday. (Reuters)
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas delivers a speech at his office in Ramallah on Wednesday. (Reuters)

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas dispelled rumors about his death with an audio intervention on Wednesday at a conference on Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa.

“Jerusalem is not for sale, and all evidence and historical documents confirm the identity of Jerusalem, the Al-Aqsa Mosque and all the Islamic and Christian holy sites in our holy capital,” Abbas said, in a speech delivered over the phone to a conference entitled, Property Documents and the Historical Status of the Blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque.

“We will not allow and will not accept a change in the legal and historical status quo at Al-Aqsa, whatever the circumstances,” he told the conference that was held at the headquarters of the Red Crescent in Al-Bireh.

The Palestinian president stressed that the conflict with the Israeli occupation was essentially political, “not a conflict with a particular religion.”

He continued: “Jerusalem and Palestine are not for sale, and we have foiled all suspicious projects to liquidate the Palestinian cause, in particular the deal of the century.”

His comments came following rumors that spread earlier on Wednesday about his death. The Palestinian presidency published photos of Abbas delivering his speech over the phone. In the background the screen of the Palestine TV broadcast the live intervention of the president.

News websites and activists on social media platforms talked of Abbas’ death, days after reports emerged about the deterioration of his health.

The Fatah Movement spokesman, Osama al-Qawasmi, denied the rumors, stressing that the president was in good health.

Speculations over the health of Abbas, 86, started earlier this week with brief news reported by some media outlets, including BBC Arabic, that Abbas had asked the Secretary of the PLO Executive Committee, Hussein Al-Sheikh, to perform some of his essential tasks as he was suffering from some health problems.



UN Human Rights Chief: Unconscionable Death and Suffering Happening in Gaza

A child looks on as Palestinians search for missing people under the rubble of a destroyed house following an Israeli air strike, at al-Nuseirat refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, 18 June 2024. (EPA)
A child looks on as Palestinians search for missing people under the rubble of a destroyed house following an Israeli air strike, at al-Nuseirat refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, 18 June 2024. (EPA)
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UN Human Rights Chief: Unconscionable Death and Suffering Happening in Gaza

A child looks on as Palestinians search for missing people under the rubble of a destroyed house following an Israeli air strike, at al-Nuseirat refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, 18 June 2024. (EPA)
A child looks on as Palestinians search for missing people under the rubble of a destroyed house following an Israeli air strike, at al-Nuseirat refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, 18 June 2024. (EPA)

Palestinians in the Israeli occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem are suffering a drastically worsening human rights environment, alongside "unconscionable death and suffering" in the Gaza Strip, the UN human rights chief said on Tuesday.

"The situation in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is dramatically deteriorating," Volker Turk, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, told the opening session of the UN Human Rights Council.

The West Bank, where the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority exercises limited self-rule under Israeli occupation, has seen the worst unrest for decades, in parallel with the war in the Gaza Strip, which is controlled by Hamas.

Turk said that from the start of the Gaza war in October through mid-June, 528 Palestinians, 133 of them children, had been killed by Israeli security forces or settlers in the West Bank, in some cases raising "serious concerns of unlawful killings".

Twenty-three Israelis have been killed in the West Bank and Israel in clashes with or attacks by Palestinians, he said.

In Gaza, Turk said he was "appalled by the disregard for international human rights and humanitarian law" by parties to the war.

"Israel's relentless strikes in Gaza are causing immense suffering and widespread destruction, and the arbitrary denial and obstruction of humanitarian aid have continued," Turk said.

"Israel continues to detain arbitrarily thousands of Palestinians. This must not continue."

He added that Palestinian armed groups were continuing to hold hostages, including in populated areas, which put both the hostages and civilians at risk.

Israel's permanent mission to the UN in Geneva accused Turk of "completely omitting the cruelty and barbarity of terrorism" in his address to the UN Human Rights Council.

"Hostilities in Gaza are the direct result of Hamas terrorism, decades of rocket-fire and incitement against the Jewish people and the State of Israel, culminating in its brutal attacks against Israel on October 7," the diplomatic mission said in a statement.

Israel's ground and air campaign was triggered when Hamas-led fighters stormed into southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing around 1,200 people and seizing more than 250 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.

Israel's offensive has killed more than 37,400 people in Gaza, according to its health authorities, and left much of the enclave's population homeless.