Abbas’ comment comes as IDF soldiers order Palestinian newspaper to stop printing material by outlawed terrorist organization Hamas.
By Ben Stansall (AFP)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Wednesday that peace talks are the only way forward and that he “expects Israelis to respect the decision of Palestinians in the upcoming elections,” Israel’s Channel 2 reported Wednesday.
In a meeting with representatives of Israeli peace NGOs in the West Bank City of Ramallah, Abbas discussed the coming elections and how the transfer of power would be carried out.
“Just as the world respected the right’s rise to power in Israel in 1977, so we expect that you will honor any decision made by the Palestinian people,” Abbas was quoted as saying by Channel 2.
“No one from Fatah or Hamas [will govern], even I myself will not head the government because I am politically affiliated [with Fatah],” he added, in reference to an interim government of independent individuals and technocrats that would assume power until the elections are carried out.
With regards to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Abbas reiterated that peaceful negotiations were the only way to move forward.
“We don’t want to think that we can make political gains through terror, therefore the peace talks are the only option,” Abbas said. “Many of you in Israel are pushing for one state, but we will not accept one state under one rule. The only thing we will accept is a two-state solution.”
Abbas also added at the end of his speech that he had no intention of dissolving the security coordination between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in light of the negotiations collapse.
“The security coordination is sacred, and we will continue to uphold it no matter what happens,” he said.
Israel troops raid Palestinian newspaper offices
Meanwhile, Israeli soldiers Wednesday raided the offices of a Palestinian newspaper in the West Bank city of Ramallah, managers said, ordering them to stop printing publications by the Islamist movement Hamas.
“Officers informed us that Israel would not allow the printing and distribution of Falastin, Al-Resala, and Al-Istiqlal,” three Hamas newspapers, the West Bank-based daily Al-Ayyam’s managers said in a statement.
Al-Ayyam has been printing the three papers since April, when a surprise reconciliation deal between Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, and their rivals Fatah brought the Islamist group’s publications back to West Bank newsstands.
The soldiers threatened to take “concrete steps” towards stopping Falastin, Al-Resala and Al-Istiqlal being printed at Al-Ayyam offices in the West Bank administrative center of Ramallah, the statement said.
Israel’s army had no immediate comment.
On April 23, Hamas and the Palestine Liberation Organization – which Fatah dominates – revealed a reconciliation deal under which they would work together to form a new government of political independents.
That was seized upon by Israel, which said it would not negotiate with any Palestinian government backed by Hamas, putting the final nail in the coffin of the latest round of US-brokered peace talks.
Earlier this month, Al-Quds daily, published in the West Bank, became available again in Gaza for the first time since Hamas drove Fatah out of the territory in a week of bloody fighting in 2007.
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