Abbas calls on Fatah to seek new presidential candidate

Fatah council urges Palestinians to escalate “popular resistance” against Israel, especially in J'lem neighborhoods Silwan, Sheikh Jarrah, Old City.

Abbas311 reuters (photo credit: reuters)
Abbas311 reuters
(photo credit: reuters)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday called on Fatah leaders to start searching for a candidate for the next presidential election.
Abbas’s appeal follows his decision not to seek reelection.
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An agreement reached between Abbas’s Fatah faction and Hamas earlier this month calls for holding presidential and parliamentary elections within a year after the establishment of a unity government.
Abbas told members of the Fatah revolutionary council during a meeting in Ramallah that the unity government would consist of “independent and national” figures.
The government’s main task would be to rebuild the Gaza Strip and prepare for the elections, he said.
He added that the Palestinians won’t “succumb to political extortion in return for our financial needs,” a reference to Israeli threats, in response the Hamas- Fatah pact, to withhold tax revenues it collects on behalf of the PA.
The PA president reiterated his determination to ask the UN in September to recognize a Palestinian state.
He added, however, that if peace talks with Israel were resumed before then he would reconsider his decision to go to the UN.
The revolutionary council issued a statement at the end of the meeting in which it backed Abbas’s plan to seek UN recognition of a state and to sign a reconciliation accord with Hamas.
The council urged Palestinians to escalate “popular resistance” against Israel, especially in Jerusalem neighborhoods like Silwan, Isawiya, Sheikh Jarrah and the Old City.
The Fatah council also urged Palestinians to take part in events marking Nakba Day on Sunday by participating in marches and rallies.
The statement warned against abandoning the “sacred right of return” for Palestinian refugees to their original homes inside Israel.
PLO Executive Committee member Saeb Erekat appealed to the international community on Thursday to pressure Israel to release the tax revenues.
Erekat, who held separate meetings with the consuls-general of the US and France in Jerusalem, condemned the Israeli decision as a “flagrant violation of signed agreements.”

Erekat told the two diplomats that the government has been trying, ever since it came to power, to destroy the PA by confiscating its political, security, legal, personal and now financial powers.
Israel was practicing “piracy and blackmail,” he said.