Tag Archives: President Mahmoud Abbas

Outgoing Palestinian premier pleads for unity

The outgoing Palestinian prime minister is urging for new elections and says it’s the only way to heal a bitter rift between the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

In a farewell speech broadcast on the local radio on Wednesday, Salam Fayyad says elections would reunite the Palestinians.

The Hamas militant group controls the Gaza Strip, while the Western-backed Palestinian Authority governs autonomous areas in the West Bank.

The rift is a major obstacle to Palestinian dreams of establishing an independent state in the two areas.

The territories have been politically divided since Hamas seized Gaza in 2007.

Fayyad, an internationally respected economist, resigned last week after bitter conflicts with President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah movement, which dominate the Palestinian Authority.

Abbas has not yet appointed a new prime minister.

From: http://feeds.foxnews.com/~r/foxnews/world/~3/rC7eI-RAduQ/

Palestinian Prime Minister Fayyad resigns

Palestinian officials say Palestinian Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad has resigned.

Fayyad offered his resignation on Thursday, and was waiting for President Mahmoud Abbas‘ reply. Officials said Fayyad submitted his resignation to Abbas in person on Saturday, and Abbas accepted it.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the official announcement has not yet been made.

From: http://feeds.foxnews.com/~r/foxnews/world/~3/FTR5v9wFQno/

Palestinian Prime Minister resigns

Palestinian officials say Palestinian Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad has resigned.

Fayyad offered his resignation on Thursday, and was waiting for President Mahmoud Abbas‘ reply. Officials said Fayyad submitted his resignation to Abbas in person on Saturday, and Abbas accepted it.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the official announcement has not yet been made.

From: http://feeds.foxnews.com/~r/foxnews/world/~3/cNBRYkOgNrw/

Palestinian PM Fayyad Resigns

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad resigned on Saturday, leaving the Palestinians without one of their most moderate and well-respected voices just as the US is launching a new push for Mideast peace. A statement from the official Palestinian news agency Wafa said President Mahmoud Abbas met with Fayyad late in…

From: http://www.newser.com/story/166187/palestinian-pm-fayyad-resigns.html

Salam Fayyad, Palestinian Prime Minister, Has Offered Resignation, Officials Say

By The Huffington Post News Editors

RAMALLAH, West Bank — Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has offered to resign because of an increasingly bitter dispute with President Mahmoud Abbas over the extent of his authority, officials said Thursday.

Abbas has not responded to Fayyad, who enjoys the support of the international community, particularly the United States.

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From: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/11/salam-fayyad-palestinian-resignation_n_3064448.html

Palestinian PM offered resignation, officials say

Palestinian officials say Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has offered his resignation to President Mahmoud Abbas as part of an increasingly bitter conflict over authority.

The officials say Abbas has not responded to Fayyad’s offer.

Tensions between the two have been rising, most recently over the right to hire and fire Cabinet ministers. Fayyad enjoys the strong support of the international community.

Three officials confirmed the offer in comments to The Associated Press but insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the issue with media. Two of the officials spoke on Thursday.

They also disagreed on when Fayyad offered his resignation. One official said it was in February while two said it was last week.

Fayyad first told Abbas late last year that he wanted to quit.

From: http://feeds.foxnews.com/~r/foxnews/world/~3/WhhWw5PYRds/

Analysis: Hamas wants bigger regional role

Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal has set an ambitious agenda for his new term, seeking to transform his Islamic militant movement that rules Gaza into a widely recognized political force, but without making concessions toward Israel needed for international acceptance.

Re-elected last week, Mashaal will try to deepen ties with regional powers Qatar, Turkey and Egypt, which have already given money or political support to Hamas-run Gaza and could be conduits to the U.S. and Europe, several leading Hamas figures said. Mashaal will also push for a power-sharing deal with his Western-backed Palestinian rival, President Mahmoud Abbas.

Hamas ideology, rejecting existence of a Jewish state in an Islamic Middle East, stands in the way. The international community insists it will deal with Hamas only if the Islamic militants recognize Israel, renounce violence and accept previous interim peace deals — conditions Mashaal has repeatedly rejected, though Abbas and his Fatah movement accepted them two decades ago.

Mashaal “wants Hamas to be a recognized and legitimate player,” said Jordan-based analyst Mouin Rabbani, who frequently meets with Palestinian politicians, including Hamas members.

“The challenge and conflict is that he has to demonstrate he can do so without going down the same path as Fatah,” he said. Fatah, for years the dominant force in Palestinian politics, has been severely weakened by years of failed talks with Israel on terms of a Palestinian state.

Key to Mashaal’s plans is a political deal with Abbas, as a possible springboard for joining and eventually taking control of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the umbrella group widely recognized as representing some 11.6 million Palestinians world-wide, according to official Palestinian figures. The Fatah-dominated PLO is largely inactive now, but it remains attractive to Hamas as a way of gaining international status.

A Hamas deal with Abbas would have to wait until the latest U.S. push to revive Israeli-Palestinian negotiations plays itself out.

Setting up a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem through negotiations with Israel remains Abbas’ goal.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was in the region this week to try to restart talks between Israel and Abbas. Chances of that in coming months appear slim because gaps remain wide between Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Abbas won’t complicate Kerry’s mission further by renewing talks now

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

Palestinian journalist jailed for Abbas photo

Two rights groups say a West Bank court has sentenced a Palestinian journalist to a year in prison for a Facebook page photo that portrays President Mahmoud Abbas as a traitor.

Abbas’ Palestinian Authority has come under mounting criticism for stifling dissent. In particular, Abbas has been cracking down on the Islamic militant group Hamas.

The defendant in Thursday’s ruling was Mamdouh Hamamreh, a reporter for the Hamas-linked Al-Quds TV.

Prosecutors say a photo montage on his Facebook page back in 2010 showed Abbas next to a TV villain. The villain was an informer for French colonial rulers and the photo caption read: “They’re alike.”

Hamamreh denied he posted the photo.

The groups Al-Haq and the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedom confirmed the ruling.

…read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

President Obama Meets Young Israelis and Palestinians on Second Day of his Middle East Trip

By Megan Slack

President Barack Obama and President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority walk past an honor guard

President Barack Obama and President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority walk past an honor guard at the Mugata Presidential Compound in Ramallah, the West Bank, March 21, 2013.

(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama was in the West Bank for the first time since 2008 on the second day of his visit to the Middle East, where he held meetings in Ramallah with Palestinian Authority President Abbas and Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Fayyad, and attended a cultural event at Al-Bireh Youth Center. President Obama, who was joined by Secretary of State John Kerry in his meetings, commended President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad for the progress that they’ve made in building the institutions of a Palestinian state.

“I’ve returned to the West Bank because the United States is deeply committed to the creation of an independent and sovereign state of Palestine,” President Obama said in a joint press conference with President Abbas. “Like people everywhere, Palestinians deserve a future of hope — that their rights will be respected, that tomorrow will be better than today and that they can give their children a life of dignity and opportunity. Put simply, Palestinians deserve a state of their own.”

In the interests of the Palestinian people, and also in the national security interest of Israel, the United States, and the world, President Obama reaffirmed “that the United States remains committed to realizing the vision of two states.”

We seek an independent, a viable and contiguous Palestinian state as the homeland of the Palestinian people, alongside the Jewish State of Israel — two nations enjoying self-determination, security and peace. As I have said many times, the only way to achieve that goal is through direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians themselves. There is no shortcut to a sustainable solution.

The President also spent time in Jerusalem today, this morning where he toured the Israel Museum and again in the afternoon, where he delivered remarks to the Israeli people from the Jerusalem International Convention Center. In his speech, President Obama spoke about the “unbreakable bonds of friendship” between Israel and the United States.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at The White House

Israeli police say rocket fired from Gaza into Israel in first attack since truce

Israeli police say a rocket has been fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel. A police spokesman says there was damage to a road but no injuries.

It’s the first such rocket from the Palestinian territory to land in Israel since Israeli-Gaza fighting last November.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld says the remains of a rocket were found on Tuesday near the city of Ashkelon, in southern Israel.

There have been protests throughout the West Bank in recent days in support of Palestinians held in Israeli jails. This weekend, one Palestinian prisoner died under disputed circumstances, prompting more protests.

A statement from the Palestinian president’s office says President Mahmoud Abbas has instructed Palestinian security officials to preserve order in the West Bank, but he blames Israel for the violence.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

Police: Gaza militants fire rocket into Israel

Israeli police say a rocket has been fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel. A police spokesman says there was damage to a road but no injuries.

It’s the first such rocket from the Palestinian territory to land in Israel since Israeli-Gaza fighting last November.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld says the remains of a rocket were found on Tuesday near the city of Ashkelon, in southern Israel.

There have been protests throughout the West Bank in recent days in support of Palestinians held in Israeli jails. This weekend, one Palestinian prisoner died under disputed circumstances, prompting more protests.

A statement from the Palestinian president’s office says President Mahmoud Abbas has instructed Palestinian security officials to preserve order in the West Bank, but he blames Israel for the violence.

…read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

Palestinian panel starts updating voter registers

The Palestinian election commission has started to update voter registers in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to pave the way for new elections — and reconciliation between the rival Fatah and Hamas factions.

Monday’s registration drive is taking place both in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip and the West Bank, which is governed by the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority.

The election commission says voter registration will continue until Feb. 18.

Palestinian law requires elections to be held within three months of completing the registration drive. But no date has been set and disagreements between Hamas and Fatah have repeatedly prevented elections from taking place in the past.

Hamas seized control of Gaza from the Fatah-led forces of President Mahmoud Abbas in 2007. The rift is a major obstacle to Palestinian independence.

…read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

Palestinian officials to try to secure Syria camps

A senior Palestinian official says President Mahmoud Abbas is dispatching representatives to Syria to try to secure the safety of Palestinians caught in fighting.

Ahmed Majdalani said Tuesday that representatives will meet Syrian officials to try to protect Palestinian areas from fighting that has engulfed parts of the capital Damascus. Generations of Palestinian refugees have lived in the crowded Damascus area of Yarmouk since their forefathers fled, or were forced to flee, their homes during the 1948 Mideast war surrounding Israel‘s founding.

Majdalani said they also will try to convince Palestinian factions to stay out of the fighting. The some 500,000 Palestinians in Syria are divided between supporters of rebels and government forces.

Like their Syrian brethren, thousands of Palestinians have been forced to leave their homes because of fighting.

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

Israeli PM faces tough choice if re-elected

After a lackluster three-month campaign, few doubt that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is on his way to re-election. But the makeup of Netanyahu’s next government remains a mystery.

If re-elected on Tuesday, Netanyahu will face a critical decision that will define his term.

He can form a majority coalition with the hard-line and religious parties he often calls his natural partners — or reach across the aisle and try to bring centrist parties into a broader-based government that might be more amenable to pursuing peace and ending, at least partly, the occupation of the West Bank and other territories.

His decision will have deep implications.

A narrow coalition of parties that oppose concessions to the Palestinians, while the easier option, would mean continued deadlock in Mideast peace efforts and increased confrontation with the international community, including Israel‘s key ally, the United States.

A broad coalition could force Netanyahu to give powerful Cabinet posts to more moderate figures as the price of their support, and would likely draw fierce opposition from within his own Likud Party.

In either case, the odds for a breakthrough in peace talks appear faint at best, because no Netanyahu-led coalition is likely to offer the Palestinians better peace terms than those they already have received and either rejected or ignored under previous governments. Netanyahu’s own positions fall far short of anything acceptable to the Palestinians.

Likud officials refuse to say which way they are leaning. Netanyahu’s campaign chairman, Cabinet Minister Gideon Saar, said Thursday that the party hasn’t even started thinking about building the coalition.

“This would send the wrong message that we’ve already won,” Saar told an interviewer on Channel 2 TV. He said the party is focused on capturing as many seats in Israel‘s fragmented Knesset, or parliament, as possible.

Under Israel‘s system, parties win a number of seats based on the percentage of votes they receive. No party has ever won an outright majority in the 120-seat parliament. The leader of the party with the best chance of cobbling together a majority is tapped as prime minister and gets the first chance to form a coalition.

All the polls show that Netanyahu’s Likud Party — in alliance with the more nationalist Israel Beitenu party — will win more than a quarter of the seats, and together with other rightist and religious parties should command at least a narrow overall majority. Although that can still change, the operating assumption in Israel is that Netanyahu will indeed emerge with a majority.

In part, this is because the opposition center-left bloc of parties has failed to rally behind a single dominant leader.

The conflict with the Palestinians and the fate of occupied territories, hotly debated in Israel for decades, has barely registered as a campaign issue.

Many left-leaning parties — including the Labor Party, which traditionally has led the bloc — have focused on internal economic issues or stressed the personalities of their leaders. This reflects the sense that Israelis have given up hopes of reaching a peace deal with the Palestinians, and stressing other issues is the best way of attracting support.

It has proven difficult, because among the current crop of party leaders Netanyahu is widely seen — even by some opponents — as the most plausible prime minister.

The 63-year-old prime minister has cultivated an image as a tough leader who protects Israelis’ security in a fast-changing region, helping draw world attention to Iran’s suspect nuclear program and responding forcefully to rocket fire from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

A Smith Research poll published in the Jerusalem Post Friday showed the Likud-Yisrael Beitenu alliance would win 33 seats compared to 14 to his hawkish rival the Jewish Home party and 17 to the Labor party. The bloc of religious and nationalist parties was poised to win 66 seats, according to Smith Research, which surveyed 800 people and had a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points. Other polls showed similar results.

A hard-line alliance would be the easy choice for Netanyahu. But it could also have negative consequences for his country’s international image.

While Netanyahu has professed to favor the establishment of a Palestinian state as part of a peace agreement, Likud is now dominated by hard-liners who oppose territorial concessions to the Palestinians. The leader of a likely coalition partner, the pro-settler Jewish Home, has gone even further, saying Israel should annex large swaths of the West Bank, the heartland of any future Palestinian state.

During a tumultuous four-year term, Netanyahu has drawn fierce criticism internationally for his handling of the Palestinian issue and his refusal to stop building Jewish settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. More than 500,000 Israelis now live in these areas, which were captured by Israel during the 1967 war and are claimed by Palestinians along with Gaza for their state.

The Palestinians refuse to negotiate while settlements continue to be built, saying the construction is a sign of bad faith.

Netanyahu says talks should begin without any preconditions. He also says a partial settlement freeze he imposed in 2009 and 2010 failed to bring about negotiations, and says the real obstacle to peace is Palestinian intransigence.

Internationally, Netanyahu has found little sympathy. His allies in Washington and Europe have condemned recent settlement plans in unusually harsh language, and European countries have begun to hint of punitive measures against Israel.

In a sign of displeasure with Netanyahu, the U.N. General Assembly voted overwhelmingly in November to recognize a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem. Netanyahu rejects a pullback to Israel‘s 1967 lines.

This week, President Barack Obama was quoted as saying that Netanyahu’s unwillingness to make concessions to the Palestinians is plunging Israel into diplomatic isolation. “Israel doesn’t know what its own best interests are,” Obama was quoted by columnist Jeffrey Goldberg, who is known to have good contacts in the White House, as saying.

Some Israelis have made similar arguments, concluding that the country’s very existence could be in question if it does not reach a peace accord with the Palestinians. The continued occupation of millions of disenfranchised Palestinians will turn Israel into an apartheid-like country with a Jewish minority ruling over what will ultimately be an Arab majority, they say.

This argument, once considered radical in Israel, has begun to go mainstream. Perhaps its most vocal proponent is former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who four years ago led peace talks with the Palestinians and recently founded a new party whose primary aim is to reach a peace agreement. “Netanyahu is leading us toward the end of the Jewish state,” she said recently.

Netanyahu himself alluded to the issue Friday in an interview with Israel TV.

“I am not in favor of a binational state,” he said. “We need to reach a solution. I don’t want to rule the Palestinians and I don’t want them to rule us and threaten our existence.”

However, he appears in no hurry to act accordingly, and the left and its supporters are increasingly bold in predicting doom.

Earlier this month, the recently retired head of Israel‘s Shin Bet internal security service, Yuval Diskin, criticized Netanyahu for failing to aggressively press ahead with peace efforts during a time of calm.

“If I cause the Israeli voter to think twice before choosing parties and leaders that are not worthy because they are actually not leading us where we should be going, I’ve done my part,” Diskin said.

Such criticism has fueled speculation that Netanyahu will explore the possibility of bringing centrist partners into his coalition. The likely candidates would be Livni’s new party The Movement and There is a Future, another newcomer led by former TV talk-show host Yair Lapid.

Both candidates have promised to drive a hard bargain. Appearing on TV Thursday night, Livni said she would join Netanyahu only if there are serious peace efforts and she is given a key role.

“I will not sit in a government that will continue the stalemate,” she said.

Lapid has indicated more flexibility, focusing his campaign primarily on the plight of Israel‘s struggling middle class. But he told The Associated Press this week that he would not be a “fig leaf” for an extremist government.

The winner of Tuesday’s election will have six weeks to put together his coalition. Netanyahu has sent mixed signals in interviews, saying that he wants a broad government to ensure stability but also saying that partners will have to accept his policies. The conventional wisdom is that the coalition will be even more hard-line than the outgoing coalition.

The prospect of another Netanyahu term has fueled a sense of despair among Palestinians, who fear that his ambitious plans for settlement construction over the next four years could kill their dreams of independence. Their hope is that Obama, emboldened by his own re-election, will put heavy pressure on Netanyahu to return to negotiations.

“The first strong impression is that peace is not on the agenda of the Israeli parties, and it’s clear that Netanyahu is winning,” said Mohammed Ishtayeh, an aide to President Mahmoud Abbas.

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Associated Press Mohammed Daraghmeh in Ramallah, West Bank, contributed to this report.

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News