Abbas: People must resist, like in Bilin
In BBC interview, Palestinian president reiterates that there will be no peace talks with Israel as long as settlement construction continues. Like other senior Fatah officials, he talks about popular resistance. He also accuses Hamas of negotiating with Israel
"Those who have to resist are the people, and there are different types of resistance, like in (West Bank villages of) Bilin and Naalin, where people are injured every day," he said.
He went on to point a finger at the Hamas organization. "Hamas talk about the importance of resistance, but why aren't they resisting now. There is a truce between them and Israel, and since the war in Gaza Hamas has not carried out any act of resistance."
He added that "the plan on which Hamas negotiated with Israel includes a delay on the issues of the refugees and Jerusalem." He accused the rival faction of torpedoing the general and presidential elections in the territories, but added that "Hamas cannot continue torpedoing the elections forever because it rose to power through elections itself."
As for his decision not to seek reelection as president, Abbas stressed that his decision was final and that he would not renege on it.
He also accused Hamas of negotiating with Israel, and sparked a row. According to Abbas, Israeli media reported of negotiations being held by Israel and Hamas with the mediation of Western and American elements in Geneva. The negotiations, Abbas said, focus on the establishment of a Palestinian state within temporary borders.
"Netanyahu knows that I am talking about a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, and a solution to the refugee problem and Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state, as well as removing the settlements and solving the water issue – and this must be though for him and he doesn't want it," Abbas concluded.
"This is way they prefer the temporary state principle which Hamas accepts as well. If I were Israel, I would also accept Hamas' proposal for a hudna (ceasefire) and temporary state."
Hamas sources defined the Palestinian president's remarks as a lie and a moral and political failure.
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said, "He is suffering from a condition of political, legal and constitutional bankruptcy and he wants to cast all his failures on the Hamas movement, while whining about the failure in his relations with the Zionist enemy."
He noted that Hamas' stand was that negotiations with the enemy must not be held under any circumstances.
Carnival in NablusFatah officials have been talking recently about supporting a popular struggle. Former Tanzim leader Marwan Barghouti, who is jailed in Israel, said Thursday that peace talks with Israel have failed and that the Palestinians must launch popular and diplomatic campaigns to achieve statehood.
Betting on negotiations alone was never our choice. I have always called for a constructive mix of negotiation, resistance, political, diplomatic and popular action," Barghouti said.
He called for a "popular campaign" against settlement activity, what he described as the Judaization of occupied parts of Jerusalem, the blockade of Gaza, land appropriation and the construction of the "racist, separation wall".
Arafat next to Abbas in Nablus carnival (Photo: AP)
Meanwhile, thousands of Palestinians marched Thursday in the "Nablus carnival" organized by the Palestinian Authority to mark the 21st anniversary of the Palestinian independence declaration. The carnival was attended by Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and other Palestinian officials.
Nablus governor Jamal Mohsein said that the participation of thousands of residents in the carnival was made possible thanks to the Palestinian Authority's success in guaranteeing stability and security in the area.
Mohsein, a Fatah member, reiterated the PA's stance that the negotiations with Israel would not be resumed while the construction in the settlement continues.
Reuters contributed to this report