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Abbas calls for end to Gaza blockade
Published Wednesday 06/02/2013 (updated) 09/02/2013 11:19
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Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi (2nd R) speaks with President
Mahmoud Abbas at the airport in Cairo, Feb. 5.
(Egyptian Presidency/HO)
CAIRO (Ma'an) -- President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday urged Islamic leaders to end Israel's blockade of Gaza, but criticized official visits to the enclave.

The ongoing siege of Gaza will prolong the conflict with Israel and lead the region to another round of violence, preventing a just and comprehensive peace agreement, Abbas said in a speech at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation summit in Cairo.

He said his Fatah party was working "very honestly" to end its rift with Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip but said world leaders should not treat the enclave as an independent entity.

Supporters of the Palestinian people should differentiate between humanitarian support "which our people in Gaza should receive, and the official political visits to the Gaza Strip which imply that the coastal enclave is a separate entity," the president said.

"We do not accept any visit or policy that represents a violation of the unity of Palestinian representation," Abbas told the assembled dignitaries.

The remarks followed recent visits to Gaza by the emir of Qatar and the prime minister of Malaysia. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, a major sponsor of Hamas, said this week he too would like to visit the territory.

Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani was given red-carpet treatment when he went to Gaza in October, as the first head of state to visit since 1999. Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas prime minister in Gaza, described it as a historic day.

The Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority denounced Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak's Jan. 22 trip there. The president of Tunisia, Moncef Marzouki, had also been due to visit Gaza last month, but cancelled at the request of Abbas.

Ahmadinejad, the first Iranian leader to visit Egypt since Tehran's 1979 Islamic revolution, said he would visit Gaza if allowed.

Abbas said such visits would lead to a "strengthening of the division". The PA had not forgone its responsibilities towards Gaza for a second, he said, adding that it spent more than $130 million a month on salaries and services there.

He said new Palestinian elections would be the quickest way to end the division -- a split which Palestinians feel has badly set back their quest for statehood.

Abbas added that Palestinian factions would meet in Cairo at the weekend to agree procedures for holding such elections. The Islamic summit was due to hold what it described as a special session on Palestine on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Abbas urged the member states of the OIC to support Palestine financially to ease a crisis caused by Israeli policies.

The president highlighted that Israel withheld Palestinian tax revenues, imposed restraints on the Palestinian economy, controlled Palestinian natural resources including ground water and deprived the Palestinian people of working on more than half their agricultural lands.

He said Jerusalem needed special support, noting that an OIC summit in August adopted a strategic plan to develop the city.

"The abusive procedures and policies in Jerusalem are not less brutal and barbarian than the procedures Israeli occupation forces conduct in other Palestinian cities and villages across the West Bank," Abbas said.

In an unfortunate blunder as he thanked the Egyptian president for hosting the summit and supporting the Palestinian people, Abbas mistakenly referred to ousted Hosni Mubarek rather than his successor Mohammad Mursi.

"It pleases me, at the beginning, to offer greetings to Mr President Mohamed Hos ... Mohamed Mursi, the president of the Arab Republic of Egypt," Abbas said.

Mursi, who was jailed under Mubarak's regime, remained stone-faced except for a slight curl of the lip.

Reuters contributed to this report.
1 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
06/02/2013 19:30
This is our "peace partner"??? Next we're gonna hear you "peace partners" talk about the "ethnic cleansing" in Jerusalem .... where there are more Arabs under Israeli rule than ever before in history. Never in all of humanity have there been more Palestinians in Jerusalem. Never. Yet you "peace partners" keep lying and claiming there is "ethnic cleansing" in Jerusalem. Liars. Abbas is a liar. Hamas are liars. You want peace? Stop lying!

2 ) Gaza is THRIVING with all / the donations
06/02/2013 19:43
from Qatar, SAUDIA, EUROPE, CHAVEZ, and soon IRAN!

3 ) Reader / from Edmonton
06/02/2013 20:05
"...spent more than $130 million a month" to prop up Fatah in the Gaza Strip. Mandates for all elected representatives expired quite some time ago. Who represents the Palestinian people today?

4 ) Carol Scheller / Switzerland
06/02/2013 20:24
It would be interesting to have a reference for the information in 1). Of course the majority of simple citizens in Israel and Palestine want peace. Again, it would be interesting to read precise figures and dates for the information in 2). Ditto for the amount of money mentioned in 3). In any case, what is needed is a visit from Abbas to Gaza.

5 ) Bemused / New Zealand
06/02/2013 21:08
Perhaps the reason for the claim in 1) that there have never been more Arabs under Israeli rule than ever before in history is because Israel keeps taking more and more Arab land...not to mention that Israel's history is a mere 63 years, so not exactly a lengthy period for comparison...

6 ) Peace or Blockade / Acceptible To Both
06/02/2013 21:09
- Israel has been calling for an end to the conflict for decades,
and Abbas and all the Palestinian leaders have refused, so realistically
- "Abbas' calls for end to Gaza blockade" will probably also be refused for decades, or until Palestinian leaders accept an end to the conflict, and
- The terms of Peace or Blockade must be acceptible to both !!!

7 ) Bemused / New Zealand
06/02/2013 21:12
a comparison that that is nonsense anyway, because what else would you expect in occupied territory other than a majority of the original owners of the land...

8 ) @ Gaza-2 & Reader-3 / USA
06/02/2013 21:20
2- If "Gaza is thriving", Then the Blockade is NO Problem.
3- Like other Arab state (Yemen, Egypt, Syria, etc.), the people "who represents the Palestinian people today" are typically thoses with the guns !!

9 ) Outlier / USA
06/02/2013 23:17
Not going to happen without major assurances that Gaza terrorism - by BOTH Hamas and its proxies - against Israel is over and major enforcement to make absolutely certain those assurances are met. In short, not going to happen.

10 ) Reader / from Edmonton
07/02/2013 07:19
Then Brian, you're OK with annexing the West Bank and Gaza c/w the displaced people and refugees?

11 ) Jordan / Palestine
07/02/2013 08:06
The entire Arab League and the organization of Islamic states offered Israel full peace for full withdrawal - and it was rejected categorically - so save us the rhetoric about Israel as a peace partner. Israel wants to take the land of Palestinians and get rid of the people. This has been a constant campaign since its founding. Futhermore, to claim there has been no ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in East Jerusalem is simply laughable. Anyone can look at a map and see what is happening.

12 ) Hey Jordan--you are a liar / your quote is false
07/02/2013 11:46
'The entire Arab League and the organization of Islamic states offered Israel full peace for full withdrawal " no arabs EVER AGREED TO end of conflict!!!!!

13 ) @ Carol-4 / USA again
07/02/2013 14:49
1) Yes, "the majority of citizens in Israel and Palestine want peace",
but there is a HUGE DIFFERENCE in the peace terms each desires, where:
- Israeli citizens want PEACE WITH SECURITY, and
- Palestinian citizens want PEACE WITHOUT ISRAEL.
2) All the Arab money in the world will not make Palestine a real state, and
3) "What really is needed is visit from Abbas to" Jerusalem to negotiate,
or a visit from Netanyahu (if Pals will invite him) to Gaza or Ramallah !

14 ) 12 - You are an ignorant clown / Palestine
07/02/2013 17:56
It's called the Arab Peace Initiative. Learn how to read basic English. When did Israel ever agree to peace w/Palestinians? They never had a single proposal that respected international law. Even agreeing to partition was a means to the colonization of more land - not an affirmation of peace. Check history, read maps, stop your Zionist lies, clown.

15 ) charliehebdo / paris
07/02/2013 20:36
hate to say be #14 you should move to egypt the land of the famous river de-nile. it appears you've never stop ranting to listen

16 ) Outlier / USA
07/02/2013 20:45
The Arab peace initiative is ironic, since Arab countries - specifically Egypt, Syria and Jordan - caused the conflict that resulted in Israel taking East Jerusalem, the West Bank, the Golan Heights and Sinai. Israel won that war and Israel will be the primary architect of the peace. Time to face reality and NEGOTIATE a lasting peace.

17 ) @ Jordan-11 / USA
07/02/2013 21:39
Israel will NEVER offer an indefensible "full withdrawal" to 1967 borders, and Israel will NEVER offer a demographic indefensible refugee return either:
- so there NEVER will be a "full peace" with Palestinians or Arabs,
and possibly Israel has withdrawn from as much as it will already,
- so the partial peace that exists now may be AS GOOD AS IT GETS !!!

18 ) Jordan / Palestine
07/02/2013 23:43
Thank you for those acknowledging that the fact that Israel opposes peace and int'l law at all costs and it's just a matter of time before it crumbles over its own arrogance just like those who favored apartheid S. Africa. Equal rights for all - special privileges for none - one person, one vote from the river to the sea!!

19 ) @ Jordan-18 / "Opposing Peace"
08/02/2013 05:32
- I "acknowledge that Israel opposes peace" on Palestinian terms, just like - I "acknowledge that Palestinian oppose peace" on Israel terms, and - I often says that, since Palestinians will never offer peace negotiations, that Israel should publicly invite Palestinians to peace negotiations, every week, at a specific time and place, and also invite the media to photograph the empty chair where Palestinian representatives were to sit, so the world can see which side really "oppose peace" !!!

20 ) @ Jordan-18 / USA again
08/02/2013 05:42
a- Palestinians citizens of Israel have more "equal rights" in Israel by far, than they do in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt, being doctors, lawyers, and Israeli government officials, and in fact b- Palestinians citizens of Israel have some special privileges (exempt from military service) that most Israelis do not enjoy, BUT c- There is NO Country "from the river to the sea", and Palestine (Areas A/B & Gaza) is NOT part of Israel, so "Pals will have one vote" in Palestine !!!!

21 ) Jordan / Palestine
08/02/2013 20:09
19) The 1st day of that negotiation in front of the media - Palestinians will say (backed by the UNSC, ICJ, human rights orgs, etc.) there is no acqusition of territory through the use force, no transfer of citizens into occupied territory i.e. settlers - and Israel will reject that and be exposed as a serial violator of int'l law on that score alone. 20) Palestinian citizens of Israel aren't equal to Jewish Israeli citizens - so nice try - discrimination by aspiration is the law of Israel

22 ) gabi / australia
09/02/2013 01:44
# 16 Outlier - you're at it again! Read history about the 6 day war and who started it - and recall what Israel said at the time, gloating about its pre-emptive strike! Now, of course, you revisionists say that Israel never started any wars, but won all of them. Lies. They started all wars except the 73 war (and almost lost that one) when Arab states "invaded"their own land, ie occupied land that Israel was told by UN in 1967 to withdraw from, but Israel refused. You really must read more.

23 ) gabi / australia
09/02/2013 01:51
and to all you Zionist-apologists, who talk about Paleitnians refusing to negotiate. Just what they negotiate for is for Israel to abide by international law. Israel, however, has many pre-conditions, (read the Hamas charter) including Israel keeping water rights which steal Palestinian water, and no access by Pals. to the Jordan river What terms are these? No-one would accept that. International law is all the Pals. ask Israel to "negotiate" with. Not rocket science is it #s 12 16 19 20?

24 ) ian / australia
09/02/2013 23:51
#1 "This is our "peace partner"???" Brian Cohen asks scornfully. I think Israelis, inc. Brian, basically know Mahmoud Abbas is incredibly decent and genuine and that the problem is PM Netanyahu's track record of deceit. "Next we're gonna hear you "peace partners" talk about the "ethnic cleansing" in Jerusalem..." Accusations of "ethnic cleansing" ARE wrong because, as BC points out the Palestinians are still here (and apparently in record numbers though the significance of it escapes me).

25 ) ian / australia
09/02/2013 23:52
(contd.) ("Ethnic cleansing", where the land becomes truly Arabrein is more an extremist's pipe dream, a Zionist fantasy, than an actual possibility.) But if it's not "cleansing" exactly that Palestinians in East Jerusalem are enduring, it's SOMETHING pretty extreme. Ethnic harrassment, bullying, intimidation, manhandling, persecution, oppression, discrimination, traumatisation, victimisation. ALL are demonstrably accurate descriptions of Israel's regime of eviction, house demolition, land theft

26 ) ian / australia
09/02/2013 23:52
(contd.) and the killing spree the IDF is presently on. I'd accept ANY of those alternatives to "cleansing", but the question, Brian, is, do you?
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