Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, addressed the Israeli settlers in the Gaza Strip telling them “Go in peace, and come to visit us as guests and tourists”.

The statements of Abbas came during an interview with the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth.

Abbas said that the settlers, who decide to visit the Gaza Strip in the future, will be welcomed “as tourists and guests”.

“Come back as tourists, but do not return as settlers and occupiers”, Abbas added.

“This should have happened in 1967, this step comes 38 years late”, Abbas added, “but now I tell you leave our areas, because occupation and peace do not co-exist”.

Also, Abbas added that the P.A is determined to bar any attempt to fire at the settlers and soldiers during the evacuation process. 

“Minor violations might happen”, he said, “but Israel is also conducting violations”.

Abbas also said that the Palestinians and Israelis are destined to live together in this land, as neighbors, “this should be the base of a new, a peaceful new era”.

Abbas added that the Palestinian slogan which says “Gaza today, Jerusalem and the West Bank tomorrow”, is legitimate, “this is what we are trying to achieve”.

“We will rebuild Gaza, it will be different than the Gaza Israel destroyed”, Abbas stated, “but it is still early to celebrate, we will celebrate when the army and settlers leave”.

“I will personally visit the settlements, I will go to Gush Katif and participate in the celebrations”, Abbas added, “I also respect the efforts Sharon is conducting, in spite of the opposition he faces”.

“But if he [Sharon] wants real peace, then this withdrawal should not be the first and last step, he should do the same in the West Bank”.

“Israel is evacuating from the Gaza Strip, the causes are not important, what is important is that they are leaving our lands”.

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