Ma'an News Agency
June 21, 2011 - 12:00am

The Palestinian leadership will continue its pursuit of support for an appeal to the UN for membership and the recognition of statehood, and Salam Fayyad will head the new unity government, President Mahmoud Abbas told the Lebanese satellite channel LBC on Monday night.

In the absence of negotiations with Israel, Abbas said, a move at the UN would be the chosen course of action. If the United States, Israel and Europe have objections to a UN appeal, he continued "they must come up with an alternative."

Addressing the issue of a resumption of talks, and the continued Israeli refusal to halt settlement construction on Palestinian lands occupied in 1967, Abbas once again justified his position that Palestinians could not return to talks unless the construction stopped, saying, "I cannot go like a blind man into negotiations without a source of authority and without a halt to construction in the settlements."

On the postponed announcement of a unity transitional government, Abbas said that "despite Hamas’s opposition, Salam Fayyad will head the Palestinian transitional government," adding that the cabinet would be subordinate to him.

"If Hamas wins the elections, let it choose whomever it wants," to lead the next government, he said. "I want for there to be a government that pushes us forward and that will have achievements, and not a government that will bring another siege on us," he added.

In a statement released shortly after the speech, Hamas slammed the statement as an "unjustifiable media escalation."

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said that Abbas’ statements "harm the national interest and reconciliation efforts."

Forty-five days after the unity document was signed, the Hamas spokesman said, parties were still waiting to form a government of "independent figures and technocrats," saying Fayyad was an unacceptable candidate.

Speaking about the Arab Spring on LBC, Abbas was critical of Arab rulers who hold onto power contrary to the will of their people, saying a leader "had to go" when the people rose up against him.

"Palestinians are leading the path of peaceful intifada," Abbas observed, saying he was still against armed struggle, but elaborating, saying he supports a "peaceful uprising."

"These intifadas are targeted against Israel, and at the first hint of an uprising against me, I promise that I won’t stay one day in pwer, I will leave before I am asked."


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