Abbas to Palestinians: Step Up ‘Popular Resistance’ Against Israel

Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas gestures as he speaks during a Christmas lunch with members of the Christian Orthodox community on January 6, 2016 in the West Bank city of Bethlehem. Mahmud Abbas dismissed weeks of rumours the Palestinian Authority could collapse, saying he would 'never give up' on it. AFP …
THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty

TEL AVIV – Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas over the weekend urged Palestinians to “keep the ground aflame with popular resistance” against Israel.

The Palestinians should not “underestimate the importance of popular resistance,” he said during remarks at a meeting of the PLO Central Council.

“Resistance” is often used by Palestinian extremists as a euphemism for terrorism targeting Israelis.

Abbas also reiterated his demand that the Gaza-based terror group Hamas cede full control over the Gaza Strip to the PA and that any funds for the coastal enclave must come through his government.

“There should be one state, one system, one law and one security force in the Gaza Strip,” Abbas added. “If they [Hamas] don’t want to hand the responsibilities over to the Palestinian Authority, then they should assume their responsibilities.”

Abbas was also said to have angered the Egyptians with his rejection of an Egypt-brokered truce between Israel and Hamas to end the violence in Gaza, a report by the London-based Al-Hayat daily newspaper said.

According to the report, Abbas insisted that a reconciliation deal between Hamas and his rival Fatah faction take precedence over a long-term ceasefire deal with Israel, and that the PLO be part of any such agreements.

The PLO council, which just concluded a three-day session, said in a statement: “The truce with the Israeli occupation is the national responsibility of the PLO, which is the sole, legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.”

“It is not a factional issue.” it added.

The council reiterated its pledge to thwart President Donald Trump’s much anticipated peace plan.

“The US administration is a partner of the Israeli occupation government,” the council charged. “It is part of the problem, and not part of the solution.”

In a statement, the council said the Palestinians will continue to boycott the US administration unless it walks back its “illegal decisions” regarding Jerusalem, so-called refugees and settlements. The statement referred to Trump’s December decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the subsequent transfer of its embassy there, the US’s suspension of funds to the UN’s agency for Palestinian Refugees UNRWA and the Trump administration’s purported support of settlements.

“The relationship of our people with the Israeli government is based on a conflict between our people and our state, which is under occupation, and the force of occupation. Our direct goal is the independence of the State of Palestine. This requires moving from the phase of self-rule to the phase of statehood,” the PLO council said.

The council also reaffirmed its commitment to previous motions undertaken by it and other Palestinian institutions, including the Palestinian National Council, to carry out a “comprehensive definition of political, economic, and security ties” with Israel, as well as to “revoke recognition of Israel until it recognizes the Palestinian state on the 1967 borders, and suspend all forms of security coordination [with Israel].”

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