Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday condemned the Israeli “aggression” on the Gaza Strip and called on the international community to intervene to stop the escalation.

Abbas’s spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudaineh, said that the Israeli “aggression” was unacceptable and deplorable.

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He said that Abbas also urged the Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip to refrain from giving Israel an excuse to escalate the situation “and cause more suffering to our people.”

Abu Rudaineh claimed that Israel wanted divisions among Palestinians to continue – a reference to the power struggle between Hamas and Fatah.

Hamas also appealed to the international community to intervene to stop Israel’s military strikes in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said that Israel was exploiting South African Judge Richard Goldstone’s retraction from his previous allegations to “perpetrate more crimes against our people.”

Barhoum also claimed that Israel’s attacks were aimed at foiling efforts to achieve reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah.

Abbas met in Cairo on Thursday with Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, head of the Egyptian Army’s Higher Council and discussed with him the Hamas-Fatah dispute and the stalled peace process with Israel.

The meeting was the first of its find since Hosni Mubarak stepped down as president earlier this year.


Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Elaraby and Chief of Army Staff Sami Anan attended the meeting, which was held at the Defense Ministry headquarters in Cairo.

PLO Secretary-General Yasser Abed Rabbo, who accompanied Abbas, said after the meeting that the Egyptians supported the PA’s stance regarding the peace talks with Israel, especially the need to halt all settlement construction.

The Egyptian leaders also voiced support for Abbas’s initiative to visit the Gaza Strip for talks with Hamas officials on ways of ending the crisis with Fatah, Abed Rabbo said.

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