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The Palestinians don't consider Israel a partner for peace because of its attempts to impose unilateral solutions in the West Bank, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei said on Saturday.
"The Palestinians' main concern is that there is no Israeli partner," he told reporters. "Israel's unilateral measures contradict the principle of partnership in peace."
Qurei accused Israel of seeking to impose unilateral solutions by continuing to build the security fence and isolate east Jerusalem from the West Bank.
"Israel might succeed in imposing unilateral solutions by force, but this won't be acceptable and therefore the conflict will continue," he added.
On Friday thousands of Palestinians converged on the Mukata "presidential" compound to attend a rally marking the first anniversary of the death of Yasser Arafat. Similar rallies were held in various parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas laid the foundation stone for a museum-mosque-mausoleum complex that will be built at Arafat's tomb. The complex will display various Arafat paraphernalia, including his keffiyeh, pistol and a golden pen.
Some PA officials expressed disappointment over the absence of world leaders from the ceremony. "President Arafat was one of the most important figures on the international arena," said one. "We are very disappointed that presidents and monarchs did not come."
Vowing to pursue Arafat's legacy, Abbas said: "I will start from where President Abu Ammar [Arafat] ended and I will continue the path he started and exert every possible effort to make his dream come true. One day a Palestinian boy and a girl will hoist the Palestinian flag over Jerusalem's mosques and churches."
Abbas also reiterated his commitment to reforming Palestinian institutions and reactivating the PLO. "Let us seize this opportunity to tell our leader as we are standing near his tomb that we will continue moving forward until we achieve our legitimate rights," he said.
On the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, Abbas said: "The eyes of the world are watching us to see if we deserve it and whether we are ready to rebuild our political system towards democracy and freedom."
PA Foreign Minister Nasser al-Kidwa, a nephew of Arafat, repeated charges that Israel was responsible for Arafat's death. "Arafat's departure was not normal," he said. "Israel had taken a decision to eliminate him, not deport him."
Kidwa claimed that Arafat was eliminated because of his refusal to accept a Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip alone and his refusal to make concessions on the issue of Jerusalem.
Hani al-Masri, a political analyst, said he was certain that Arafat had been poisoned, but that Arafat's "assassination" had not achieved its goals because most Palestinians continued to abide by his legacy. "Israel used to claim that Arafat was the major obstacle to peace because he was supporting 'terror,'" he added. "But when Abu Mazen [Abbas] came and announced his willingness to negotiate and condemn terror, Israel continued to ignore the presence of a Palestinian partner."
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