abbas announcement 248 88 ap.
(photo credit: AP [file])
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas blamed Israel for the impasse in peace talks, but said Palestinians would not lose hope and let despair enter their souls, in an address on Wednesday to thousands of Fatah supporters convened at the Mukata headquarters in Ramallah for ceremonies marking the fifth anniversary of the death of PLO founder and leader Yasser Arafat
Last week, Abbas announced that he wouldn't be running for re-election in the upcoming January vote.
"The Palestinian people and the Palestinian leadership will not lose hope and won't allow despair to enter into our souls," he said. "Our revolution is the most difficult and the longest revolution in history, and is perhaps the last revolution in the world."
"In the end we will achieve our goals," said Abbas. "In the end we will see the light at the end of the tunnel."
Regarding Israeli claims that the Palestinians are approaching the negotiating table with preconditions, Abbas said that "what we are demanding are not preconditions, our demands are all mentioned in the Road Map for peace. But those who don't want peace are creating obstacles on the way to peace," in a reference to Israel.
"Israel is violating international law," Abbas continued. "Israel is behaving like a country above law. The international community must force Israel to stop its violations and end its occupation of the Palestinian territories, including east Jerusalem."
"We gave peace a precious chance, but we see that Israel is continuing to steal land and 'Judaize' Jerusalem. This is in addition to excavation under al-Aqsa mosque," he said.
The Palestinian leader continued to say that he would not return to the negotiation table with Israel until it imposed a total settlement freeze, including building in Jerusalem. He also called for a freeze on expansion due to natural growth in settlement.
Various speakers at the Ramallah event also repeated the charge that Arafat died after being poisoned.
Jpost.com staff contributed to this report