PA negotiator: Abbas will ask PM to lift Gaza blockade, remove checkpoints

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will ask Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Sunday to remove the Gaza blockade and dismantle hundreds of West Bank checkpoints, Palestinian negotiator Yasser Abed Rabbo was quoted by Israel Radio as saying Saturday. Meanwhile, Abbas repeated his condemnation of the blockade, calling it a "collective punishment of Gaza residents." In a speech Saturday, the PA president also called for an end to rocket fire, so as not to give Israel a "reason to be presented as the victim in the eyes of world."