|Celebrating Abbas's return from the UN in Ramallah 370 (R).(Photo by: Mohamad Torokman / Reuters)|
Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah: Now, we have a state
By KHALED ABU TOAMEH
PA president vows to pursue efforts to end the split between Gaza, West Bank, dedicates UN "victory" to late PA president Arafat.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday vowed to pursue efforts
to end the split between the West Bank and Gaza, and thanked Hamas and all
Palestinian groups for supporting his statehood bid at the UN.
speaking to thousands of supporters in Ramallah during a rally organized by the
PA to celebrate the UN General Assembly’s vote in favor of upgrading the status
of the Palestinians to non-member observer state, said he would focus his
efforts now on “restoring unity of the Palestinians and their lands and
The crowd, which consisted mostly of PA civil servants and
Fatah activists, responded by chanting, “We want national unity!” “Abbas,
onwards, we are with you until liberation!” and “With blood and soul, we redeem
Abu Mazen [Abbas].”
In the coming days, Abbas said, “We will study
accelerating moves to achieve reconciliation [with Hamas].”
the outcome of the UN vote as an “historic achievement,” adding that November 29
has become a “decisive turning point in our national struggle.”
that more than 75 percent of UN members had voted in favor of the statehood bid,
the PA president said that most of the countries that had abstained
congratulated the Palestinians on their achievement.
“The message to us
is very clear,” he said. “We are not alone. History is with us. The future
belongs to us and God is with us.”
Abbas said he decided to go to the UN
despite pressure and warnings from several parties.
“They told us that if
we go the world would explode,” he added. “They asked us to postpone the move.
Finally, they told us to change our policy and project. But we remained steadfast and
triumphed because the world heard the voices of our people.”
he was presenting the UN “victory” as a gift to the the “soul of the late leader
Yasser Arafat.” He said that the Palestinians would continue to march in the
footsteps of Arafat.
Abbas said the Palestinians would continue their
struggle until the Palestinian flag is raised over the walls of Jerusalem’s Old
City and churches. He said that Jerusalem was the “eternal capital of the State
Abbas said he was also presenting the UN “victory” to
Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails for their “legendary sacrifices and
The PA president boasted that the UN vote has both
provoked and isolated Israel in the international arena. Abbas concluded his
speech by telling Palestinians to “raise your heads high because you are
Palestinians and you have proven that you are stronger than occupation and
The PA gave civil servants half the day off to attend the
The festivities included a ceremonial release of balloons
in the red, green, white and black colors of the Palestinian
Palestinian onlooker Muhammad Stayyeh said he was there “to thank
the president for the historic achievement and dream that he achieved for us and
Hamas responded to Abbas’s call for unity by calling for
“urgent meetings” between the two sides to solve their differences.
representative Salah Bardaweel pointed out that Abbas did not set preconditions
for ending the dispute during his speech in Ramallah. Bardaweel noted that
Palestinians who greeted Abbas had chanted slogans in favor of ending the
“This shows that there is a real desire for
achieving reconciliation,” the Hamas official said.
to this story.