Abbas sees independent Palestinian state in 2013

Abbas sees independent Palestinian state in 2013

RAMALLAH - Agence France-Presse
Abbas sees independent Palestinian state in 2013

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas waves to supporters gathered next to Yasser Arafat’s grave in the West bank town of Ramallah. ‘2013 will be the year of statehood and independence for Palestinians,’ says Abbas. EPA photo

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas pledged Dec. 31 that the coming year would see the implementation of Palestinian independence.

Lighting a torch in the grounds of his West Bank headquarters to start celebration of the 48th anniversary of his Fatah movement he spoke of last month’s historic U.N. vote upgrading the Palestinians’ diplomatic standing, referring to it as the “birth certificate” of a Palestinian state.“We have a birth certificate... and we want to complete the march toward full independence,” he said. “Next year, 2013, will be the year of statehood and independence.” Despite the U.N. vote and widespread international support for Palestinian statehood, Israel still occupies the West Bank, maintains tight controls of movement of goods and people to and from the Gaza Strip and has annexed largely-Arab east Jerusalem.

Direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians began in September 2010 but ran around several weeks later over an intractable dispute about settlement building, and international efforts to bring the two sides closer together have so far led nowhere.

Israel ‘would’ talk to Hamas

JERUSALEM – Agence France-Presse

Israeli President Shimon Peres said Dec. 31 that there is no fundamental reason not to talk to Hamas if it renounces violence and decides to take a constructive course. “There is nothing wrong with talking with Hamas, if you get an answer,” Peres told a New Year’s reception in Jerusalem. “But Hamas and Gaza have to decide what do they want, peace or war,” he added in remarks in Israeli army radio.

The radio’s website quoted Peres as saying that future relations were up to the Islamic Hamas itself.