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Photo: Reuters
Abbas during his tour of the settlements
Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters
Abbas: Next step is to end West Bank occupation
Photo: Reuters
Abbas: Nation has a right to celebrate
PA leader visits former Jewish settlements after Israel completes pullout from Gaza Strip; Palestinian security chief talks to Ynet about celebrations in the territories and the future
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas toured former Jewish towns in Gaza Monday, shaking hands and meeting with celebrating Palestinians.

 

During his visit to the former settlement of Elei Sinai, Abbas said the Palestinian nation has a right to celebrate the historic day of Israel's withdrawal.

 

"The Palestinian's joy is understandable after years under Israeli rule. They need to express their emotions," he said.

 

Next: West Bank

 

Abbas reiterated that Israel and the PA were unable to reach an agreement regarding the recently closed crossings along the Egyptian-Gaza border.

 

"It is important not to turn Gaza into a prison," he said, adding that "the next step is to end occupation in the West Bank and establish our state."

 

Abbas said earlier that over the past 38 years, "not only was there occupation, there was aggression, humiliation, murder and settlements."

 

Security chief: situation will calm down

 

Elsewhere, southern Gaza Palestinian Security Chief Jamal Kaid told Ynet during a tour of Neve Dekalim that he is not concerned the crowds will congregate in the settlements.

 

"We will let the people celebrate, visit the settlements and we will then handle matters in a serious and discrete manner," he said, adding that he is certain the situation will calm down in several days.

 

He also said he was satisfied with Israel's cooperation with the PA regarding the pullout.

 

Did the large turnout here ruin your plans?

 

"Listen, people are enthusiastic after 38 years. For 38 years they never saw their land, for years they
never saw the sea and so we understand the situation and are allowing the people several days to celebrate and then our work will begin."

 

It seems there is a shortage of security men.

 

"Correct, due to crowds our primary goal was to organize the entrance for civilians into the settlements and to prevent any problems. Believe me, we have enough security men. Just the opposite - we have too many men. After the celebrations in the next two days, we will allow the organized entry of building teams, agricultural and construction specialists and others in a bid to begin work."

 

In contrast to reports that no armed groups entered the settlements, they can be seen on jeeps armed with mortar shells.

 

"We have taken into account that it is the first day and everyone wants to take part. Everyone has interpreted the event in their own way. One believes it is resistance; another believes it is negotiating, while a third believes it is Israel's decision. As long as they keep the peace and are restrained, they will not ruin anything; everything will be fine in the end."

 

What will happen to the synagogues?

 

"To the best of my knowledge they will destroy all the structures…it appears that the headquarters in Neve Dekalim used by the Israelis and handed over to us, is not fit for use and very dangerous."

 

How is coordination with the Israelis, did you receive all the information and maps needed?

 

"Coordination was good and our relations with the Israelis are very good. We received all that we needed, however all the infrastructures were destroyed so a large part of the information we received is no longer relevant."

 

Kaid added that "the Palestinians did everything possible to maintain order and security, and to prevent violence in the region."

 

"The main task now is to enable the Palestinians to live close to the Green Line," he said. 

 

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