Sunday, June 11, 2006

The Palestinian’s choice: Make the land they occupy their independent nation or an Israeli artillery impact area.
Abbas seeks backing of Palestinians

TEL AVIV -- Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas yesterday formally announced a July 26 referendum on negotiations with Israel, disregarding Hamas' boycott pledge and the political fallout from the deaths of seven Gazan beachgoers killed Friday by an errant Israeli shell.

As Hamas' military wing fired small rockets into southern Israel, signaling the end to a 16-month truce, a legislator from the Islamist militant party said Mr. Abbas would be held responsible for the "dangerous" consequences of a vote.

Speaking to reporters in Ramallah, Mr. Abbas described the referendum as an immediate necessity to settling his ongoing dispute with Hamas and restoring international financial aid.

"As chairman of the [Palestine Liberation Organization] Executive Committee and president of the Palestinian Authority, I have decided to exercise my constitutional right and duty to hold a referendum over the document of national agreement," Reuters news agency quoted Mr. Abbas as saying in a decree read by an aide.

The manifesto, penned by Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, calls for a Palestinian state, alongside Israel, on all of the Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank…

Hamas, whose charter calls for Israel's destruction, has accused Mr. Abbas of using the manifesto to try to engineer the downfall of its government…

"Until now they are showing they will behave in a negative way, but how negative I don't know," said Mr. Abed Raboo. "Their rockets were not directed against Israel. They were directed against the referendum. They wanted to threaten us that if we wanted to go on with the referendum, they will undermine the truce."…

Will the Palestinians build a nation or a barrel?


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