Ma'an News Agency (Analysis)
September 7, 2010 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian Authority would "not leave Gaza or the West Bank to Hamas or others,” President Mahmoud Abbas told the Kuwait-based daily newspaper Ar-Ray on Tuesday.

The interview followed one in the Ramallah-based Al-Ayyam newspaper on Monday, where Abbas said that if he was forced to concede on key issues such as refugees or borders during the next round of direct negotiations with Israel, he would "pack my bags and leave."

Abbas spoke with the Kuwaiti newspaper after several high-ranking PLO officials had already confirmed that Gaza would be central to any peace deal with Israel.

“Everybody knows the circumstances that led to the coup and to rivalry. We decided to avoid any armed confrontation with our brothers, and instead we will try to end rivalry through dialogue," he said.

Abbas rebuffed criticism by Arab leaders over his decision to re-enter negotiations, a move not endorsed by all factions within the PLO.

"Let [Israel] wage war and we will be at the front lines, but we don't want them to chose to wage their war against ... the Intifada which erupted in 2000 destroyed all that we built and what was built by our predecessors," Abbas said.

Countering criticism, Abbas further said the Ramallah-based leadership had “played the role of mediator to launch indirect negotiations between Israel and Syria to be sponsored by Turkey.”

The Palestinian president in turn criticized Arab leaders for failing to transfer $500 million pledged by the Arab League in March for the Jerusalem fund. The PA, he said, required political and economic support at this stage.

"The Palestinian leadership will update them on all what is going on, and we want the Gulf States to support us politically, spiritually, and financially as usual."

Abbas is scheduled to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Egypt on 14 and 15 September to continue direct negotiations, which were relaunched in Washington on 2 September.


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