Palestinian president calls for unity against 'barbaric Israeli aggression’

Palestinian president calls for unity against 'barbaric Israeli aggression’

'We must ensure our national unity to fight against the occupation, which targets our rights and sanctities as well as our existence,' says Mahmoud Abbas

By Anadolu Staff

RAMALLAH/GAZA CITY, Palestine (AA) – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called Sunday on the leaders of Palestinian factions attending a meeting in Egypt to unite against “Israeli aggression.”

The general secretaries-level meeting taking place upon a call by Abbas kicked off in the Egyptian coastal city of El Alamein and is closed to the press, said Palestinian Ambassador to Egypt Diab Allouh.

Noting that it is inevitable for all Palestinians to assume national responsibility against the ongoing “barbaric aggression of Israel,” Abbas said "we must ensure our national unity to fight against the occupation, which targets our rights and sanctities as well as our existence."

“The coup d'état (staged by Hamas in the Gaza Strip) in 2007 and the division that befell us after must end," he said.

He stressed that the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) is the “sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.”

Abbas advised all parties not to be hesitative towards the PLO and its national political agenda, praising the group for paving the way for the country to be able to become a full-time party to 130 international agreements and institutions.

Abbas underlined that the struggle to become a full-time member of the UN will continue.

He stressed that one of the basic principles that will ensure the unity of Palestine is to "adhere to international legitimacy and peaceful popular resistance," noting they have resorted to various stages of resistance so far, and in today's conditions, it would be best for the Palestinians to continue their struggle “peacefully.”

He accused Israel of preventing elections from taking place and called on the international community, including the US and the European Union, to put pressure on Israel over the matter.

-Meeting

The parties will discuss "developments in Palestine, the restoration of national unity, and ways to end divisions in the shadow of the great difficulties facing the Palestinian issue," Egypt’s official news agency MENA reported.

During initial talks held on Saturday, the leaders of the Palestinian groups stressed that decisions should be made to strengthen national unity and support the resistance of the people in the face of Israeli attacks.

The Palestinian groups also emphasized that their ranks should be strengthened as part of the PLO.

Hamas spokesman Hazim Qassim told Anadolu they were holding talks with most of the Palestinian groups to prepare the ground for the meeting to end successfully and with a resulting statement suitable for all parties.

He said the talks are an attempt to expand the common areas between the Palestinian groups and reach a consensus that will result in practical steps.

Fehmi Sahin, political chief of the Palestinian People's Party, told Anadolu on Saturday that the meeting would focus on “strengthening and expanding the role of the PLO, the functional role of the Palestinian Authority, and the strategy of resistance to be developed against Israel and its crimes.”

He expressed hope for all parties to find common ground.

Attendees should put aside disagreements and focus on the struggle against occupation and supporting the people’s resistance, he said.

Some Palestinian groups including the Islamic Jihad Movement (PIJ), the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC) and the Vanguard for the Popular Liberation War — Lightning Forces (As-Sa'iqa) have announced that they will not take part in the meeting because they think it will “fail.”

On July 10, Abbas announced the extraordinary meeting of Palestinian groups’ general secretaries in Egypt.

The meeting is expected to address the dangers and challenges facing the Palestinian cause following a 48-hour attack by Israel earlier this month on the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank.

*Writing by Merve Berker

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