Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has said Palestinians have a legitimate right to resist Israeli occupation, even if the phrase does not appear in his new government program.
"We are certainly an occupied people and resistance is a legitimate right for the Palestinian people as an occupied people," Fayyad told reporters in Cairo, where he is leading the Palestinian delegation to an Arab League meeting on Monday.
Palestinian officials confirmed on Friday that the platform of the new government omits the phrases "armed struggle" and "resistance" against Israeli occupation.
This was a change from the platforms of the previous two Palestinian governments led by the Islamist movement Hamas, which has rebuffed US and European demands that it recognize Israel and renounce violence.
But Fayyad suggested that resistance would not always be the same as armed struggle.
He asked: "What is the essence of resistance fundamentally, especially in light of the nature of the existing occupation?
"Does it not begin by exerting every possible effort to ... reinforce the steadfastness of the Palestinian citizen on his land? This is the program of the government."
Russia voices support for Abbas's leadership
Meanwhile, President Mahmoud Abbas was in Moscow on a visit aimed at enlisting Russian support for his Fatah movement.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told Abbas that Russia firmly supported his leadership.
"We firmly support you as leader of the entire Palestinian people," Lavrov told Abbas, making his first trip to Russia since Hamas took over the Gaza Strip. Abbas, who arrived Sunday in Moscow, was also slated to meet with President Vladimir Putin during his three-day trip.
The daily newspaper Kommersant reported that Abbas hoped to persuade Putin to give full support to his Fatah movement.
Reuters and AP contributed to this report