Photo Credit: Flash90
Mahmoud Abbas speaks at the annual Islamic Beit al-Maqdes Conference in Ramallah, April 11, 2018.

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas told the closing session of the 29th meeting of the Palestinian Central Council (PCC)—held on Friday in Ramallah and aired on Palestine TV on Saturday—that “either we take control of authority as it is in Gaza and the West Bank – with one state, one system, one law and one weapon – or [Hamas] takes control instead.”

“Reconciliation for us does not mean a truce, ceasefire or humanitarian assistance,” an angry Abbas continued. “Reconciliation means that unity should be reinstated. There is no state in Gaza nor an autonomy in the West Bank, and we will not accept this. We will never accept the separation of Gaza [from the West Bank].”

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Abbas stressed that any aid or financial support to Gaza should only go through the legitimate Palestinian Authority government.

The PCC on Friday affirmed its strong rejection of President Trump’s offer of a “Deal of the Century” in any shape or form, stressing that it would fight it with all the means at its disposal. It also said it considered the US administration “a partner to the Israeli occupation government and part of the problem rather than the solution.”

Abbas stressed the need for a permanent Arab presence in Khan al-Ahmar. Back in May 2018, Israel’s High Court of Justice determined that the Bedouin residents could be evicted, based on a 2010 demolition order issued by the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories.

The crux of the struggle at hand is over the viable future of a Palestinian State, which must control Area E1— which stretches along the narrowest part of Judea and Samaria the vicinity of Khan al-Ahmar, to guarantee it contiguous border. Israel’s rightwing is therefore invested in removing the squatters and imposing Israeli sovereignty on Area E1, to connect metropolitan Jerusalem with Ma’aleh Adumim.

“We must know that they will separate the two parts of the West Bank from each other if they take that area,” Abbas warned. “This is an important issue that must remain before our eyes. We must sound our voices everywhere in the world, because the issue is extremely dangerous and we are facing a fierce attack from all directions.”

The PCC decided to submit a comprehensive plan with specific timetables for redefining political, economic and security relations with Israel, including the cessation of security coordination in all its forms, and the suspension of recognition of the State of Israel until it recognizes the State of Palestine on the June 4, 1967 borders, with its capital in East Jerusalem.

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