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Abbas speaks
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Photo: AFP
Abbas tours Gaza
Photo: AFP
Abbas thanks Israeli Left
Speaking in Gaza, PA leader says Gaza withdrawal a ‘historic precedent,’ adds Palestinians strive to remove occupation, settlements from all Palestinian land and chiefly Jerusalem
The Gaza Strip withdrawal was a historic precedent, with the Palestinians striving to remove the Israeli occupation and settlements from all their land, and chiefly Jerusalem, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas said Tuesday evening.

 

Speaking in Gaza, in a speech broadcast on Palestinian television , Abbas chose to thank the Israeli Left, among other elements, for helping to bring about the disengagement.

 

“I thank all our people and everyone who assisted us, including Israeli peace forces, allied countries, Arab countries…I thank the martyrs, headed by the greatest martyr, Yasser Arafat,” Abbas said.

 

The Palestinian leader noted the disengagement was not an end to occupation and that

Israel must also withdraw from the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

 

"The withdrawal of the occupation army and the settlers from the Gaza Strip doesn't mean in any way that occupation has come to an end," Abbas said.

 

"Today Gaza, tomorrow the West Bank and Jerusalem,” he said.

 

Turning his attention to Israel, Abbas said: “I turn to the people and government in Israel and tell them, we are holding out our hand for a true peace and a just peace.”

 

“In order for the disengagement to be a step of peace, it mustn’t leave behind focal points of tension that may bring the diplomatic process to a dead-end,” he said. ‘For this, (construction) work in the settlements and on the separation fence must end and prisoners must be released…”

 

At the same time, Abbas delivered a clear warning to terror groups that may seek to challenge his authority that everybody must obey the law.

 

"We will not allow anybody to destroy this achievement under any justification. This is the future of our sons. Today there is no room for personal agendas," he said.

 

"We will not allow the armed chaos and people taking the law into their own hands or kidnappings or attacking public property," Abbas said.

 

'A historical opportunity'

 

Addressing the Palestinian people, Abbas said: “I wish to say to you, my people, that we are now facing a historical opportunity to begin our national project and start constructing our independent state.”

 

“Much depends on our actions and behavior. We must impose law and order, because this is the only homeland we have,” he said.

 

“If each of us fulfills his duty, Gaza will serve as a lever for a better life and a basis for making the dream of partnership and creation come true,” he said.

 

The Palestinian Authority chairman added that the PA is currently in touch with countries that will contribute money to support reconstruction and development work in the Strip, scarred by long years of fighting.

 

Abbas mentioned a series of projects aimed at rebuilding the Strip, including the construction of thousands of housing units across Gaza, the development of the harbor and the border crossings, as well as different agricultural and desalination projects.

 

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