April 19, 2010 - 12:00am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called on prisoners on Sunday to press the factions to reconcile and achieve national unity.

Once again, the prisoners should exert pressure on everybody to make national unity, Abbas said when receiving families of prisoners at his office in Ramallah, a day after Palestinians marked the Prisoners' Day.

In 2006, the Palestinian prisoners drafted a plan supporting Saud Arabia's efforts in the formation of a unity government. However, the government collapsed in June 2007 after ruling for three months owing to Hamas' violent takeover of Gaza.

Abbas also called on Hamas to sign the Egyptian reconciliation offer which the Islamic movement rejected last year. The proposal aims at restoring political unity to the Hamas-controlled Gaza and the West Bank where Abbas' Fatah party holds sway.

Abbas said Gaza, which Israel sealed off after Hamas' takeover, faces poverty, hunger and water pollution, adding that money was waiting to enter Gaza for reconstruction after Israel's three-week military operation that ends in January last year.

Donors pledged up to 4 billion U.S. dollars to rebuild Gaza but refused to send the cash as long as Hamas controls the impoverished enclave home to a population of 1.5 million.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017