Abbas. No predictions
Photo: AP
Rafah crossing
Photo: AP
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Tirosh. To help with education issues
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Photo: Knesset website
Whbee. Abbas asked about Sharon
Photo: Knesset website

Abbas: I can't predict how crisis will end

Palestinian president losing sleep over Gaza blockade, situation at Rafah crossing. In meeting with Kadima MKs in Ramallah he says, 'Closing the crossings in Gaza is a mistake. It is wrong to starve residents and prevent them from receiving electricity and food'

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Thursday that he could not predict how the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip would end and what impact it would have on the peace process.


Abbas made the remarks in a meeting with Kadima Knesset members who visited him in Ramallah.


"The closure of the crossings in Gaza is a mistake," the Palestinian president added. "It is wrong to starve the residents and prevent them from receiving food and electricity."


The Israeli delegation included MKs Ronit Tirosh, Amira Dotan and Michael Nudelman and Deputy Foreign Minister Majalli Whbee. Rishon Lezion Mayor Meir Nitzan, head of the Kadima Council, also joined the MKs.


The delegation was about 30 minutes late for the meeting after being delayed at the IDF checkpoint in Beit El. They were allowed to proceed only after signing a document in which they took personal responsibility for their visit to Ramallah. Coalition chairman, MK Eli Aflalo, decided not to proceed due to the condition.


MK Tirosh said following the meeting, "I told the Palestinians that I was coming there to prove that the diplomatic process was not only the agenda of the prime minister or the foreign minister, but rather the Kadima party's agenda.


"Abbas told me that he was very happy to hear that, and that the more supporters the process has, the bigger its chances to succeed. I presented myself as the former Education Ministry director-general and said that the right thing would be to build work teams which will hold talks on different issues.


"Abu Ala (former Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia), who was also present at the meeting, said that he would be happy to see me lead such a team on education and social issued, and it was decided to advance this idea."


Deputy Minister Whbee also addressed the meeting. "Abu Mazen (Abbas) told us that we must take advantage of this timeframe in order to advance the peace process. He wants to connect between different frameworks among the people.


"He told us that no one could know what the result in Gaza would be, and said that the situation was difficult and that he didn’t want the people to suffer."


According to Whbee, Abbas also asked about former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's condition and expressed his regret over the situation.


Police to raise alert level

The meeting was held on the backdrop of the riots on the Gaza-Rafah border, the collapse of the border wall and the siege imposed on the Strip by Israel.


On Thursday, The High Court granted a petition by Israeli and Palestinian human rights groups to hold an emergency hearing on the Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip this coming Sunday, at the request of several Israeli and Palestinian human rights groups.


Egyptian riot police gathered Thursday at the Egypt-Gaza border, directing traffic away from the frontier fence smashed by Hamas militants a day earlier.


Dozens of Egyptian police in helmets and with search dogs used batons to beat the hoods of private cars and pickup trucks that massed at the border to carry Palestinians further into Egyptian territory.


Meanwhile Thursday, Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter instructed the senior police command to raise the level of alertness in terms of people trying to infiltrate Israel from Egypt.


According to Dichter, "We must raise the alter in light of the big waves of people who have left Gaza to Sinai and due to the warnings on terrorists' plans to carry out an attack in Israel."


Dichter noted that three Israelis were killed about a year ago in a terror attack in Eilat, which was carried out by a suicide bomber who left the Gaza Strip and entered Israel through Sinai. 


Roni Sofer contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 01.24.08, 16:50
 new comment
This will delete your current comment