In an interview with London-based newspaper al-Sharq al-Awsat, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas charged Israel was inciting against him but said that despite the smear campaign he does not intend to resign.
The Palestinian leader affirmed that a Palestinian civil war not in the cards, charging that Israel is not interested in calm in order to not deliver on pledges it made.
‘It appears they (Israel) are the ones not interested in the calm, not us,’ Abbas said.
Abbas has earlier slammed Israel for postponing its Gaza withdrawal due to Jewish mourning period and questions the Jewish state’ believe in democracy.
Abbas said he was surprised to hear Israeli leaders’ attacks against him, saying the charges leveled at him are used by Israel to get out of meeting its pledges.
‘I’m subject to ongoing, continuing attacks, but I believe there’s a sector in Israel that started to understand that I’ve made substantial, positive moves on the ground.’ Abbas said.
Abbas warned that the continuation of the current state of affairs imposes a heavy burden on him.Ã‚Â
‘The cities were not handed over, the prisoners haven’t been released, and we promised it to people.’ He said. ‘How will we face them? We have to address this burden.’
Abbas also said that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has decided on a unilateral exit from Gaza to show the world Israel was acting and the Palestinians were not.
‘Sharon doesn’t want to take Palestinian wishes into consideration,’ he said.
The Palestinian leader dismissed Israeli attempts to force Palestinians into a civil war.
‘If the Israelis want us to initiate a civil war, it’s a destructive position for the entire peace process as a whole, and not only the Palestinian question,’ he said.
Regarding his upcoming trip to Washington, Abbas described U.S. President George W. Bush as a friend of Israel.
‘We do not aspire to become friends, but we hope that the United States at least would adopt objective positions, see the truth on the ground, and act accordingly,’ he said.