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Mahmoud Abbas Backpedals Charges that Rabbis Called to Poison Palestinian Water

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas retracted charges he made in an address to the European Parliament on Thursday that Israeli rabbis had called for the poisoning of Palestinian wells, a charge Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called a “blood libel,” implying it is an anti-Semitic charge. In a statement, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) which Abbas chairs, said Abbas “rejected all claims that accuse him and the Palestinian people of offending the Jewish religion.” The statement added that “after it has become evident that the alleged statements by a rabbi on poisoning Palestinian wells, which were reported by various media outlets, are baseless, President Mahmoud Abbas has affirmed that he didn’t intend to do harm to Judaism or to offend Jewish people around the world.” The statement is not likely to mollify Israelis who were also miffed that Abbas refused to meet Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin, who was in Brussels at the same time. Abbas received a standing ovation from the European parliament after his speech.