PA declares three days of mourning in Gaza and West Bank.
By KHALED ABU TOAMEH
Hamas on Monday called for ending the blockade on the Gaza Strip while the Palestinian Authority declared three days of mourning in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in protest against the IDF operation against the Gaza aid ships.PA President Mahmoud Abbas claimed the Israeli leadership had planned the assault on the ships in advance. “They killed those who are helping the Palestinian people who live under siege,” Abbas told the PA’s Palestine TV. “We call on the United Nations to stand up to Israel, which is violating all international laws.”RELATED:Israel faces int'l fury over flotillaEvening J'lem protest evokes contentionHe said that Israel deliberately attacked the ships to “deter the international community from supporting the Palestinians and working toward lifting the blockade on the Gaza Strip.”Abbas’s office later issued a statement condemning the IDF operation as a “crime against humanity.”Abbas also appealed to the US and the UN to intervene with Israel to lift the blockade on the Gaza Strip.The PLO and Fatah leaderships held an emergency meeting in Ramallah late on Monday to discuss the repercussions of Monday’s confrontation between the IDF and the international activists at sea.AdvertisementSome Palestinian officials said before the meeting that they would demand that Abbas suspend the indirect proximity talks with Israel.The PA cabinet condemned the IDF operation and urged Hamas to accept an Egyptian proposal for reconciliation with Fatah. The ministers also called for lifting the blockade on the Gaza Strip without conditions.The Fatah Central Committee accused Israel of practicing “state terror not only against the Palestinians, but also against civilians from all around the world.”A statement issued by the committee also called for lifting the blockade.In the Gaza Strip, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh called fordemonstrations in protest against the “despicable crime.” He urged thePA leadership in the West Bank to halt peace talks with Israel.Haniyeh also called for an emergency meeting of the Arab League todiscuss the repercussions of the IDF operation and ways of lifting theblockade.“It’s time to end this siege,” he said. “The response to this crime can’t be only through statements and meetings.”Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal denounced the interception of the ships asa “war crime” and called on the Security Council to take “decisive”measures against Israel.Mashaal called for “seizing the historical opportunity” to lift theblockade. He too urged the PA to stop the peace talks with Israel.The Hamas leader also called on Jordan and Egypt to cut off diplomatic ties with Israel.
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