Monday, August 22, 2005

Abbas: PA to control evacuated areas

From Jerusalem Post Breaking News from Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World: Aug. 20, 2005 14:37 Updated Aug. 21, 2005 1:40 By KHALED ABU TOAMEH ...

...Abbas announced that he had signed a decree that would give the PA control over all lands and assets that are evacuated by Israel in the Gaza Strip and northern West Bank...."These lands will be government-owned and individuals and political factions will be prohibited from using them," he explained.

...He added that the Palestinians were seeking a final settlement with Israel on the basis of dismantling all settlements in the West Bank and the implementation of United Nations Resolution 194 regarding the Palestinian refugees' rights.

...On Friday, Abbas made his first visit to the international airport in the southern Gaza Strip, where he declared that the disengagement was the fruit of the sacrifices of Palestinian "martyrs." "We must remember that our achievements are the result of the sacrifices of the martyrs," he told thousands of supporters who gathered to greet him. "The martyrs have paved the road for us. "The sacrifices of the martyrs, the wounded and the detainees, made the occupation leave Gaza and evacuate the settlements. "This step will be followed by further withdrawals from the West Bank and Jerusalem."

....But in a new challenge to Abbas, dozens of Hamas gunmen held a press conference in one of the main squares of Gaza City on Saturday, where they announced that they would continue to launch terror attacks on Israel even after the disengagement. PA policemen who arrived at the scene did not intervene. "This retreat does not mean the end of our battle, but it is the beginning," said one of the Hamas gunmen, who identified himself as Abu Obaidah. "Our battle with the enemy is long and will continue." He said Hamas would not surrender its weapons until all Palestinian lands were liberated. "We will keep all our weapons and we will even develop them," he said. "The weapons of the resistance are pure and clean and we won't remain idle in the face of continued occupation and the desecration of our holy sites."

Musa Abu Marzouk, the No 2 man in Hamas, also announced that his movement would continue the fight against Israel after the disengagement. In an interview with the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, Abu Marzouk said: "This withdrawal does not mean the end of occupation. There is still the West Bank and Jerusalem. Gaza is only a small part of occupied Palestine. As long as the occupation continues, we won't lay down our weapons."

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