Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said on Friday that the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza is only the beginning, and that it should be followed by further withdrawals from the settlements in the West Bank.

The statements of Abbas came during an interview with the French Liberazion Newspaper, and ABC Espaniol newspaper.


“This withdrawal is not a Palestinian or Israeli victory”, Abbas said, “It is a victory of peace for everyone”. 

Also, Abbas added that the United States and the European Union should pressure Israel in order to evacuate the settlements in the West Bank.

“This withdrawal is only the beginning, all settlements are illegal, in the West Bank, in Jerusalem and Gaza as well”, Abbas stated, “When the International Community talks about a Palestinian Independent State, this means that Israel should withdraw from the occupied territories”.

“The Palestinian and the Israelis should start talking about the future of the West Bank, Israel should freeze all of its settlement activities, Europe should practice more pressure regarding this issue”. 

Abbas also said that he faces difficulties with the Palestinian public opinion, “but I believe we can go ahead, and arrive to further arrangements”, and added that the Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon is facing bigger difficulties among the Israeli government and society.

“Sharon has to do much more to return to the Road Map Plan in order to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict”, Abbas stated, “Evacuating 21 settlements in Gaza, and Four in the West Ban is not enough”.

Commenting on the situation of the Palestinian security devices, Abbas said that they need further reforms in order to be able to impose law and order, “Crimes and illegal activities happen all over the World, even in the States, this should to be an excuse for Israel to refrain from conducting its obligations”.