Jerusalem:The Palestinian president ignited an uproar in Israel on Thursday after falsely claiming that Israel had "executed" a 13-year-old Palestinian boy who is recovering in an Israeli hospital, drawing new accusations that he is inciting violence at a time of heightened tensions.
The boy, who was run over by an Israeli vehicle after involvement in the stabbing of an Israeli boy, has become the centre of heated, high-level name-calling between the Israeli and Palestinian leaders reflecting the abyss between them after a monthlong spike in deadly violence.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said in a televised speech late yesterday that Israel is engaged in the "summary execution of our children in cold blood" and wrongly claimed that 13-year-old Ahmed Manasra was among those killed. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu swiftly accused Abbas of "lies and incitement."
The case has become a lightning rod for both sides, as they trade accusations in an increasingly charged atmosphere. Netanyahu has repeatedly alleged that Abbas is inciting Palestinians to violence against Israel, a claim denied by the Palestinian leader. Abbas says Israel has been using excessive force against Palestinians.
In the past month, eight Israelis were killed in Palestinian attacks, most of them stabbings. During the same period, 31 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire, including 14 identified by Israel as attackers, and the others in clashes between stone-throwers and Israeli troops.
On Monday, Ahmed and his 15-year-old cousin Hassan stabbed and seriously wounded two Israelis, including a 13-year-old boy, in Jerusalem. Hassan was shot dead by police while Ahmed was struck by a car after the attack.
Amateur video widely circulated on Palestinian social media sites showed the wounded Ahmed lying on the ground after being struck, his legs splayed and a pool of blood near his head. Bystanders are heard cursing the boy in Hebrew and yelling at him, "Die!" The images, which made no mention of the stabbing, have enraged many Palestinians.
Israel's Hadassah Hospital, which is treating the boy, issued a statement on Tuesday saying that "in stark contrast to circulating rumours," he was stable and "fully conscious."