Abbas: Iran must stop 'interfering'
Palestinian president meets with visiting US Secretary of State Clinton in Ramallah, says Tehran must stop driving schism between Palestinian factions. Clinton meanwhile admonishes Israel's plans to demolish dozens of houses in east Jerusalem as 'unhelpful' violation of Road Map terms
Iran must stop interfering in Palestinian affairs, president Mahmud Abbas said on Wednesday after talks with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
"We are sending a message to the Iranians and others - stop interfering in our affairs," he said. "They are interfering only to deepen the rift between Palestinians." Abbas spoke on the same day that Iran's
supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called for world Muslims to join the Palestinian "resistance" against Israel at the start of a two-day summit in support of Hamas-run Gaza.
"The only way to save Palestine is resistance," Khamenei said in his address to open the global summit Tehran organised in aid of Gaza and the Palestinians.
"Support and help to Palestinians is a mandatory duty of all Muslims. I now tell all Muslim brothers and sisters to join forces and break the immunity of the Zionist criminals," Khamenei said.
The Islamic Republic is an enthusiastic supporter of the Islamist Hamas movement that has ruled Gaza since June 2007, when it booted forces loyal to the Western-backed Abbas out of the coastal strip.
Clinton slams Israeli breach of terms
Secretary Clinton criticized on Wednesday Israel's plans to demolish dozens of Palestinian homes in east Jerusalem as a violation of its international obligations.
"Clearly this kind of activity is unhelpful and not in keeping with the obligations entered into under the Road Map," Clinton said, referring to the long-stalled peace plan.
"It is an issue that we intend to raise with the government of Israel and the government at the municipal level in Jerusalem," she added at a joint news conference with Abbas.
Israel said more than 80 homes slated for demolition were built without permits. Palestinians say permits were nearly impossible to obtain.
Clinton arrived in the West Bank under heavy security Wednesday, meeting first with Palestinian Prime
Minister Salam Fayyad and then with Abbas. On Tuesday she met with Israeli leaders in Jerusalem, including President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Prime Minister-designate Benajmin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Affairs Minister Tzipi Livni.
She repeated that the US was committed to the establishment of a Palestinian state and she praised Fayyad's plan for rebuilding Gaza.
Fayyad's government outlined the plan Monday at an international donors' conference for the territory, which was heavily damaged in a recent Israeli military offensive.