Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas said on Tuesday that he rejects violence against civilians, a day after the Jerusalem bus bombing attack.
Speaking during a visit to Germany and quoted by The Associated Press, Abbas said that "we are against all forms of terrorist activity that affect Israeli and Palestinian civilians."
Abbas, who had earlier met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, told reporters that Palestinians "want to achieve an end to the occupation and the building of settlements through diplomatic means, and through peaceful resistance by the Palestinian people."
Merkel condemned Monday's attack as well, saying there could be "no justification for violence", according to AP.
But she also urged a halt to Israeli “settlement activity”, the report noted.
The statement from Abbas is surprising given that in the past he has consistently refused to condemn terrorist attacks against Israelis, choosing instead to say that the Palestinian people “live under difficult conditions” caused by “the Israeli occupation”.
Contrary to Abbas’s remark, the “military wing” of his Fatah faction, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, praised the Jerusalem bombing and said its perpetrators “responded to our calls to carry out suicide attacks as the only way to respond to the crimes of the Israeli occupation.”
Abbas has come under fire from other Palestinian factions in recent weeks over his comments to Israeli Channel 2 News, in which he promised to continue the security cooperation with Israel, and made statements against the wave of Arab terror attacks.