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WEST BANK: Abbas tells Israelis peace more important than settlements


Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday called on Israelis to choose peace over settlements, urging them not to waste this opportunity.

“To the Israeli people I say: Making peace is more important than settlements,” said Abbas as tens of thousands of Palestinians from all over the West Bank rallied at his headquarters to mark the sixth anniversary of the death of his predecessor Yasser Arafat, founder of Fatah movement.

“Let us make peace before this opportunity is lost,” he urged the Israelis. “We pray to God that they would take this opportunity, but hopefully not too late.”

At the rally, Palestinians, mainly from Fatah, the largest secular Palestinian political movement, chanted slogans supportive of Abbas.

“Abu Mazen (Abbas’ popular title), continue on your path and we are behind you until liberation,” they chanted, raising his picture as well as Fatah’s yellow flags and the black, white, green and red Palestinian flag.

On the platform where Abbas stood and spoke, a huge picture of Arafat was posted next to the slogan: “The position is firm –- A state without settlements –- Jerusalem is the capital -– the Return.”

“This slogan says it all in few words,” he said. “It summarizes the issue in few, expressive and simple words. We do not want settlements on our land. All settlements are illegal. Jerusalem is our capital and return of refugees to the homeland is our right granted in UN resolutions.”

Abbas recalled what President Obama had said in his speech at the opening session of the United Nations General Assembly in September.

“President Obama said he hopes a new state will become a full fledged member of the United Nations next year. We are the only ones left in the whole world and we hope this will not become just a slogan to be postponed every year,” said Abbas.

Arafat died at a French hospital where he was taken after becoming seriously ill; he was 75. His death followed years of Israeli military siege of his Ramallah compound and for Palestinians it remains a mystery, even though many, including officials, believe he was poisoned by the Israelis.

Nasser al-Qudwa, head of the Yasser Arafat Institute and a member of Fatah Central Committee, said at the rally that he will not rest until the mystery of Arafat’s death is solved. He said Arafat was poisoned, even though the French medical reports did not confirm that.

Turning to his arch rival, the Islamist movement Hamas, Abbas urged its leaders in Gaza and Damascus to end the split in the Palestinian ranks caused after the Hamas military takeover of Gaza in June 2007.

Hamas banned Fatah from holding a memorial rally for Arafat in the Gaza Strip.

Abbas denounced what he termed as “agendas” by regional powers interfering in Palestinian affairs.

“There are some who want us to be fighting for their own regional interests,” he said. “They claim the U.S. has veto power over our decision. Our national unity is much more important than personal or regional agendas. It is more important than any veto, not only from the Americans but also from the Iranians.”

Abbas insisted that he had met all his obligations under the Oslo agreement, which he had signed on behalf of the Palestine Liberation Organization with Israel in 1993.

“I challenge anyone who says we did not implement all our obligations,” he said. “We met all our obligations, but Israel did not implement even one of its obligations.”

He criticized U.S. and Israeli statements declaring that by going to the Security Council to complain against Israel’s settlements or to demand recognition of the June 4, 1967 lines as the borders of the future Palestinian state, he was undertaking a unilateral action.

“I said we will go to the Security Council and they started saying that it was a unilateral action even before I went,” he said. “But Israel is taking daily unilateral actions in its construction of the separation wall and settlements, but this is not called unilateral.”

“There is still injustice in this world but we have to raise our voice,” he said in a somber tone.

Abbas praised Arafat, describing him as “maker of the peace of the braves,” as Arafat used to call the peace process.

“But they did not understand him and persisted in rejecting peace and continued to fight him,” he said talking about the time Israel held Arafat under siege in his Ramallah headquarters following the outbreak of the armed uprising in the West Bank in September 2000 until his death in 2004.
Arafat shared a Noble Peace Prize in 1994 with the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, assassinated in November 1995 by an Israeli Jew opposed to his work for peace, and current Israeli President Shimon Peres. The three were honored for their role in bringing about the Oslo agreement in 1993.

-- Maher Abukhater in Ramallah, West Bank

Photo: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas marks the sixth anniversary of the death of late Palestinian President Yasser Arafat on November 11, 2010 in Ramallah, West Bank. Credit: Omar Rashidi/PPO via Getty Images

Comments () | Archives (8)

Israel was admitted by UN as a member state under reolution 273.However its admittace was conditional and only upon iplementation of resolutions 181 and 194 which clearly call for the return of all Palestinian refugees to their homes and belongings and to limit the borders of the new state as per resolution 181. Since Israerl until now refuses the return of Palestinian refugees and has expanded its borders far beyond the territories specified in resolution 181,it should not be considered a member state anymore.In fact it nothing but abunch of illegal military gangs whose only game is to practice all kinds of aparthaid aganist all non jews and to kill as many Palestinians as they can everday.

"Tine and again..."

The Muslim-Arabs, local and regional, have been offered an accommodation of peaceful coexistence between Arab and Jew, between the Muslim-Arab world and the nation-state of the Jewish people, Israel, and the Muslim-Arabs have rejected the offer and refuse to use the opportunity. A few examples:

1937 - Peal Commission offer, rejected

1947 - UN Resolution, rejected

1948 - Israel's Proclamation of Independence offer, rejected

1948 to 1967 - The entire territory of the "West Bank", Gaza and eastern Jerusalem was "cleansed" of its former Jewish residents and under Arab control, yet no Palestinian state was set up and Jerusalem was not proclaimed its capital city. However, in 1964 the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was set up. Which part of "Palestine" was this organization to "liberate"...??

1967 - Israel's offer at the end of the Six-Day War, rejected

1978 - Begin/Saadat offer, rejected

2000 - Barak/Clinton offer, rejected

2008 - Olmert/Bush offer, rejected

2009/10 to present - Netanjahu's offer of direct talks without preconditions, accepted and then..., rejected

No wonder, the late Mr. Abba Eban made the astute observation: "The Arabs have never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity" for peace.

Let us hope they come to the table now and talk...!!

Time and again, Israel's broken the peace treaty that the U.S. has initiated.
Never even once implemented, a single of its obligations. Can the world honestly expect Israel to want peace?
Let's help it along, by cutting off its financial aid.

Israel never wanted peace with the Palestinians.They just want to keep killing more and more Palestinians everday hoping that desperate Palestinians will eventually leave the country and take refuge somewhere else.This is not going to happen regardless of this ruthless and systematic genocide. Palestinians have stood against all European Invaders during the Crusades in the 12th. centry while the Zionist neo invaders were hiding in Europe making business and hoarding money. Throughout all their history,Palestinians never gave in to foreign invaders.The only solution for this chronic dilemma is establishing one secular country on all the land of Historical Palestine for Jews,Moslems and Christians with equal rights and responsibilities and without any kind of discrimination.

Maybe Abbas can cut a deal with the Sephardic Jews to exchange their confiscated land titles in Arab countries in exchange for the WB and we'll call it a wash? Of course the amount and estimated value of those Jewish owned lands confiscated by the Arab nations from the Sephardic Jews is FIVE TIMES THE CURRENT LAND MASS OF ISRAEL PROPER!! But if they would leave the WB, Oh, that's right, they can't go to other Arab countires, they're discriminated against, like in Europe. Turkish Muslims in the millions have immigrated to Eurpose, but no Palestinians.
Arafat's death is no mystery, his eyes were reported as being yellow and jaundiced; liver failure from Hepatitus C secondary to HIV infection was the cause of his death. Why else cover it up?

Israel is a small country...about the size of New Jersey
Arab/muslims have 56 countries with Mecca as a capital and all they do is scream about war with Israel...

"The issue is not the settlements".


"Settlements" did not exist in 1920 when the Muslim-Arabs initiated their war-of-attrition-through-terror against the Jewish community of the country, one that is yet to cease, and that was 28 years before Israel even came into being, before the "occupation" as a result of the Six-Day War, 1967, before "Gaza", before the "peace process".

"Settlements" were not the issue when five Muslim-Arab countries initiated the 1948 Middle East war aimed at the wiping of Israel off the face of earth, one day after Israel was proclaimed based on UN resolutions.

"Settlements" were not the cause of the Six-Day War, 1967, initiated by three Muslim-Arab countries against Israel, aiming to achieve what they failed to do 19 years earlier, and in 1973 when two Muslim-Arab countries set out to achieve what they failed to do in 1948 and 1967.

It is time intelligent people look at reality in the face and realize: The core issue of the Arab Israeli conflict, local and regional, is the categorical refusal by the Muslim-Arabs to accept Israel's RIGHT to be, to exist as the independent nation-state of a people, of the Jewish people on ANY parcel of land between the River and the Sea. And until the international community, US included, doesn't demand of the Muslim-Arabs to accept Israel's RIGHT little can be expected in terms of peace-making.

"and return of refugees to the homeland is our right granted in UN resolutions" this quotation from Abbas is why there are Jewish settlements in strategic areas. This is a clear statement of intention to subsume Israel, a denial of desire for a two state solution and to dominate the Jewish minority in the Levant with a one state solution. The guy wants what he can't have and he will simply not compromise. But he's also not in a position to impose his will, and the Israelis are in a position to stop these intetnions with facts on the ground. Conclusion: build more settleents an preclude the desruction of Israel as a Jewish state. The Arabs leave the Jews no other choice and are not offering peace, only domination.


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