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PM Abbas: No Value in IOF Withdrawals

PM Abbas: No Value in IOF Withdrawals without Removing Roadblocks


Abed Rabbo: We Won’t Accept Turning Cities into ‘Ghettos and Detention Camps’

The Palestine National Authority (PNA) on Monday held the United States responsible for the deadlocked implementation of the “roadmap” peace plan because it failed to pressure Israelis to end the “deception” in their policy and the “dishonesty” in “their modus operandi,” as the Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmud Abbas confirmed that any withdrawal by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) “has no value” if the siege they impose on Palestinian reoccupied territories is not lifted.

“The disagreement with the Israeli side over the issue of (IOF) withdrawals is the (the more than 162) military roadblocks,” which are suffocating and paralyzing the daily life of Palestinian civilians, PM Abbas said, the Palestinian daily Al-Ayyam reported on Tuesday.

“If (IOF) withdrawals from cities occurred and the roadblocks are not lifted the pullout would have no value,” he said.

Israel’s foreign minister Silvan Shalom on Monday said Jewish state needs a guarantee that the pullback won’t free Palestinian anti-Israeli occupation activists to resume attacks.

"If there isn't full assurance that terror won't originate from those cities, the plan won't move forward,” Shalom said. "The Palestinians have to assert their authority.”

Israeli “Defense” Minister Shaul Mofaz told a cabinet meeting on Sunday that transfer of security control in Ramallah and Tulkarem would "be conditional on a resolution of the problem of fugitives in each city.”

Mofaz was referring to suspected Palestinian activists, “wanted” by the IOF, and whom the Israeli occupation troops have been extra-judicially assassinating.

The IOF continued to arrest and pursue these activists despite the calling of a three-month truce by Palestinian factions on June 29, which made an end to such Israeli operations one of its conditions.

“We are responsible for them (the activists),” Mahmud Abbas said, adding, “I think this issue must be resolved with the Israeli side.”

Abbas was due to meet with Palestinian factions later this week to try to shore up the truce, which has been threatening to unravel after twin bombings last Tuesday in retaliation for a deadly Israeli occupation army raid on Nablus Friday, in which two Hamas activists were assassinated and two other innocent civilians were killed.

"We will hold several sessions with the factions to assess the truce so far,” said PNA culture minister Ziad Abu Amre, who also heads the team in charge of liaison between the factions and Abbas’ Cabinet.

"We are interested in prolonging the truce, but the Israeli government is making our task very difficult,” the minister told AFP.

US Administration Responsible, Says Abed Rabbo

Member of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and PNA minister for Cabinet affairs Yasser Abed Rabbo on Monday held the US Administration responsible for the deadlocked implementation of the “roadmap” peace plan and accused Israel of seeking to turn Palestinian population centers in the West Bank into “ghettos and detention camps.”

''They want us to accept turning our cities and villages into ghettos, enclosures, and detention camps, and this we won't accept,” said Abed Rabbo in a television interview Monday.

Abed Rabbo said Israel was refusing to remove military roadblocks outside Palestinian population centers, which he said meant that Palestinians would not be able to travel between towns and villages in the West Bank.

''The Israelis are deceiving the world, they declare one thing in public but do the opposite on the ground. Deception is their policy and dishonesty is their modus operandi,” Abed Rabbo told Aljazeera satellite TV station.

He said that due to the Israeli policy of erecting roadblocks outside each and every Palestinian town and village, Palestinians were no longer able to reach their jobs, schools and homes.

''Where in the world a person is denied access to his home?” he asked.

Abed Rabbo said the 3-month Hudna or cease-fire declared on June 29 by Palestinian resistance groups was facing the danger of collapse if the United States failed to pressure Israel to lift its suffocating restrictions on Palestinians.

''The situation can't continue like this,” he noted.

Palestinian–Israeli Meeting Tuesday Not Confirmed

The Palestinian minister of state for security affairs Mohammad Dahlan and Mofaz agreed early Friday to withdraw IOF from four reoccupied Palestinian cities in the West Bank and to hand over security responsibilities there before the end of August.

However Palestinian and Israeli senior security officials failed Sunday to agree on the terms and the timetable for the withdrawal of the IOF from Jericho and Qalqilya first, then from Tulkarem and Ramallah.

The disagreement on the removal of the IOF roadblocks blocked the deal.

"We want the withdrawals to be accompanied by the removal of roadblocks, allowing the people to move freely between cities and villages,” Dahlan said.

Speaking to reporters at a meeting of the Palestinian parliament in Ramallah, said the issue of the “wanted” activists "is about to be resolved” in the coming days.

He did not provide details but said the agreement would guarantee the activists’ safety: "It is the duty of the Palestinian Authority to protect our brothers who carried out resistance operations during the uprising.”

Palestinian General Ribhi Arafat, who took part in the talks, told AFP a new meeting would be held Tuesday "to complete the negotiations and to hear an answer from the Israeli side and to have a new idea of removing the checkpoints.”

He said Israel had made "unacceptable” proposals to man 24-hour checkpoints on the edge of the towns.

Israeli officials, who said Sunday they expected new talks in the coming days, did not confirm plans to hold negotiations Tuesday and declined immediate comment on Dahlan’s remarks.

The Palestinian leadership on Sunday rejected “Israeli pretexts to obstruct the implementation of the roadmap.”

The withdrawal of the Israeli occupation Forces (IOF) from reoccupied Palestinian areas “must take place from all cities and areas according to the roadmap, to pre-September 28, 2000 positions,” the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) said, following a meeting chaired by President Yasser Arafat and attended by Prime Minister Mahmud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah, the Palestinian official news agency WAFA reported.

Separately President Arafat earlier urged the Israeli side to implement the stipulations of US-sponsored “roadmap” without wasting more time.

“The Israeli side is required to implement the stipulations of the roadmap instead of wasting time in explicit attempts to fragmentize it and circumvent it,” he said.

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