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March 01, 2005
No abdication of Jerusalem as Palestinian capital, pledges Abbas
Palestinian Authority (PA) President, Mahmoud Abbas, insists that he will not allow illegal Israeli settlements to fragment the right of the Palestinians to have a viable and contiguous state nor surrender East Jerusalem (Quds) as its capital, reports Ahmed J Versi, Editor of The Muslim News.
“I will never abdicate our demand to have Jerusalem as our capital because it was illegally occupied in 1967,” said Abbas. He was also resolute that every Israeli settlement must be dismantled in all pre-1967 occupied territory.
Speaking at a meeting with 20 British Muslim leaders, including Versi, on the eve of Tuesday’s Palestinian conference in London, he said that the Palestinians owned over 95 per cent of the land before Israel was created in 1948. “Now we are only asking for 22 per cent of Palestinian land. We will never go beneath that claim,” he said.
The PA President said the Palestinians had international support to obtain their rights that was based on “justice and human rights issues.” He denied he was under any pressure that would fragment the West Bank. “We will not allow settlements to create a Bantustan in Palestine,” he pledged.
Abbas, who as head of the PLO, is responsible for the Palestinian Diaspora, also said that the refugees must be allowed to go back to their homeland or those not wishing to do so to be compensated as stipulated under UN Security Council resolution 194. “I will never wave on the right of return. I will maintain Palestinian unity,” he insisted.
He was adamantly opposed to the use of violence, saying it was “haram to shed Palestinian blood,” when asked if he would use violence against other Palestinians. “We have engaged in dialogue with representatives of other Palestinian groups,” he said. The Palestinians, he added, “want to obtain their legitimate rights through negotiations and peaceful means.” However, he was against suicide bombings. “Majority of the Palestinians are against suicide bombings,” he said.
(Full details of conference and meeting with Muslim leaders will be published in this month’s Muslim News).
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