Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas announced Wednesday that he would
meet with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal on November 23 to discuss with him the
implementation of the Egyptian-sponsored reconciliation agreement between the
Addressing supporters in Ramallah on the anniversary of
Palestinian “independence day” and the death of Yasser Arafat, Abbas said: “It’s
our right and duty to meet with the leadership of Hamas, which represents an
important part of the Palestinian people.”
Abbas to call for formation of unity gov't
“We have the right to consult
and exchange views with Hamas about the future. The future is not the business
only of Fatah, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Democratic
Front for the Liberation of Palestine or Hamas. It’s the business of all
Abbas said that it was time that Palestinians ended their
divisions and spoke in one voice.
“The division [between the West Bank
and the Gaza Strip] has caused harm to the Palestinians and their cause and only
serves the interests of Israeli occupation,” he said.
The PA leader said
that he was determined to make every effort to reach an agreement on the
implementation of the reconciliation accord that was announced in Cairo on May
4. He added that he was keen on holding presidential and parliamentary elections
and the formation of a new government consisting of independent figures to
supervise the vote.
With regards to the peace process, Abbas said that
“we won’t succumb to the occupation and we won’t give up our rights.” He also
voiced support for a peaceful and popular “resistance” in which foreign
activists and Israeli peace advocates take part.
The Palestinians are
seeking peace with Israel because they seek justice, Abbas said.
a solution that ensures the establishment of an independent Palestinian state
with east Jerusalem as its capital,” he added. “We don’t want negotiations that
evolve in a vicious cycle.”
Abbas stressed that he would not sign any
peace treaty unless all Palestinians are released from Israeli
He also saluted the prisoners who were freed in the recent
exchange between Israel and Hamas for IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, calling them
heroes and promising to provide them with homes and financial
Abbas said that the Palestinians should not feel frustrated
over the failure of his statehood bid at the UN Security Council.
won’t backtrack,” he declared. “We went to the Security Council and we
will go a second and third time. We won’t give up.”
Abbas said that the
statehood bid was not aimed at delegitimizing or isolating Israel. However, he
added, the PA seeks to isolate Israel’s policies in the international
MK Ahmed Tibi [United Arab List- Ta’al], who was one of the
key speakers at the Ramallah rally, launched a scathing attack on the
right-wingers, dubbing Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman a “fascist
settler.” Tibi said that the “day will come when they will propose a ‘death to Arabs’
Tibi hailed Arafat as “the eldest revolutionary” and “father of our
homeland.” He also accused Israel of imposing an “apartheid regime” in
the Palestinian territories.