Arab governments expressed the hope that Israel's pullout from the Gaza Strip will be followed by the evacuation of other occupied Palestinian lands and the establishment of a Palestinian state.
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas acknowledged the "historic and important" nature of the Israeli pullout from Gaza after 38 years but denounced an Israeli insistance it would keep hold of its West Bank settlement blocs.
Saudi Arabia "looks forward to the Israeli pullout from the Gaza Strip being a step followed by other steps toward withdrawal from all occupied Palestinian territories so the Palestinian people can build their state, with Jerusalem as its capital," said a statement issued after the weekly meeting of the Saudi cabinet in the Red Sea city of Jeddah.
"The cabinet affirmed the kingdom's commitment to the peace initiative put forward by ... King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz to the Arab summit held in Beirut in 2002 and adopted by the summit, thus becoming an Arab peace initiative," said the statement, carried by the official SPA news agency.
Lebanon: victory for 'resistance'
The Beirut meeting of Arab heads of state endorsed a blueprint, proposed by then Crown Prince Abdullah, offering Israel peace and normal ties in return for its withdrawal from occupied Arab lands.
Lebanese President Emile Lahoud "hoped the withdrawal from Gaza constitutes the beginning of the recovery of all the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people", the ANI state news agency quoted him as telling Abbas in a telephone conversation.
For their part, the two Lebanese Shiite groups, Amal and Hizbullah, issued a joint statement saying "the routing of the Israeli enemy of Gaza is a high point in the long struggle of the Palestinian resistance".
They said the withdrawal "proves the effectiveness of resistance."
Jordan: Palestinians should 'pull together'
Jordan's King Abdullah reacted by urging Palestinians to pull together to prevent anyone from "hampering" Israel's withdrawal, an official statement quoted him as saying to Abbas.
The king also gave his "support to Palestinian Authority efforts to impose its authority on territory evacuated by Israel" calling the withdrawal "a positive step which must lead to a withdrawal from the West Bank".
Kuwait: hope for pullout
In Kuwait, the cabinet voiced hope the Gaza pullout would be "the first step by Israel to end its occupation of Palestinian territories and will be followed by other steps in compliance with relevant UN resolutions".
A statement cited by the official KUNA news agency said Kuwait also looked forward to the Gaza withdrawal leading to the revival of peace efforts on the basis of the internationally-backed "roadmap."
Bahrain's King Hamad congratulated Abbas in a telephone call on the Gaza pullout, saying he hoped it was "a step on the road to the establishment of a Palestinian state" with Jerusalem as its capital, the BNA news agency reported.
Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh similarly expressed hope that Israel will evacuate all occupied Palestinian and Arab territories and that an independent Palestinian state will be set up, Yemen's SABA news agency said.