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Abbas: Israel should choose peace over settlements
PA president talks at rally marking Arafat's death; private screening of film about Yasser Arafat disrupted by Hamas, who arrest attendees.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Thursday that
Israelis should choose peace over West Bank settlements.
Abbas called for national unity as he
spoke at a rally marking the sixth anniversary of the death of his
predecessor, Yasser Arafat where thousand attended, waving Palestinian
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In his speech, Abbas said children on both sides should "taste coexistence ... before the opportunity is lost."
said that the Palestinian position is clear and there will not be
negotiations while building continues in the settlements.
"The Palestinian state will be established when no settlements exist within it," Abbas said.
Palestinian Authority president stressed that the Palestinians will
not sign any peace agreement that does not include the release of
Palestinian prisoners and said that the prisoners are the pride of the
Earlier on Thursday, a Palestinian lawmaker said that Hamas police broke up a
private screening of a film about Arafat.
reported that police threatened to seize a screen and a VCR and arrested
some of the more than two dozen attendees. Police also detained
journalists, watched footage from the event and made them promise not to
Hamas officials could not be reached for comment.
On Monday Hamas announced its decision to ban Fatah supporters from
holding a rally in the Gaza Strip to mark the anniversary of Arafat’s death.
Hamas has done this every year since taking control of the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2007.
al-Agha, member of the Fatah Central Committee, said the Hamas
government had informed him formally of the decision to ban the rally.
Khaled Abu Toameh contributed to this report.