Abbas calls on Hamas to complete hostage deal with Israel 'as soon as possible'

Palestinian Authority president's unusual appeal comes following ongoing talks in an attempt to reach deal which would prevent 'thousands of casualties'

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in an unusual move called on Hamas leaders on Wednesday "to carry out a hostage release deal with Israel as soon as possible."
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In a statement from his office in Ramallah, Abbas said: "Given the all-encompassing war being waged against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including in East Jerusalem, we call on everyone, especially Hamas, to swiftly complete a hostage release deal to spare the Palestinian people additional casualties."
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Yahya Sinwar, Red Cross vehicle in Gaza, Mahmoud Abbas
Yahya Sinwar, Red Cross vehicle in Gaza, Mahmoud Abbas
Yahya Sinwar, Red Cross vehicle in Gaza, Mahmoud Abbas
(Photo: Belal Al SABBAGH / AFPTV / AFP)
Touching on the threat to Palestinians in the Strip amid the ongoing war, he said it was "another disaster and a threat no less severe than the Nakba in 1948." According to him, a hostage release deal could prevent the Israeli military's operation in Rafah, which in his view could lead to thousands of casualties and the displacement of many Gazans.
In his statement, Abbas called on "the American government and our Arab brothers to act to conclude the deal as quickly as possible, in order to spare the Palestinian people from the ravages of this destructive war."
Abbas blamed the "Israeli occupation" for conducting a war in the Gaza Strip that "has led to the death of hundreds of Palestinians every day, in addition to the raids in the West Bank and Jerusalem, which together have created a dangerous escalation." He added that "we must take responsibility and stop this war against the Palestinian people."
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אבו מאזן פגישה עם מזכיר המדינה של ארה"ב ב רמאללה
אבו מאזן פגישה עם מזכיר המדינה של ארה"ב ב רמאללה
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas
Abbas added that those who "sabotage" the deal, in his words, are responsible for its consequences. "It can't go on any further. It's time for everyone to take responsibility," he said.
The statement from his office also read: "We want to protect our people from the consequences of any additional disaster that may happen, and therefore must make decisions that serve our people's interests and protect them, so that we can defend our national interests. This will happen by stopping the aggression and recognizing an independent Palestinian state with its capital in East Jerusalem."
In recent days, a delegation headed by Abbas arrived in Qatar, where it discussed "post-war matters and the conclusion of the war." Recently, sources within the Palestinian Authority told Ynet that Abbas is planning to establish a new government led by Mohammad Mustafa as part of the post-war plan.
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