President Mahmoud Abbas has called on armed Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip to desist from launching Qassam rockets into Israeli territory, claiming such actions are progressively destroying any hope of peace in the region.Speaking from Gaza after his meeting with the EU’s foreign policy chief Javier Solana, Abbas stated: “We don’t need them [the rockets]. They must stop so we can reach a mutual truce with Israel in Gaza as well as in West Bank.”
Abbas noted that in his earlier meeting with Prime Minster Haniyeh, he had urged the Hamas-chief to exert all his efforts in convincing the factions to lay down their arms and halt the fire of rockets into Sderot and the surrounding area, referring to the attacks as “absurd”.
In his speech, Abbas also criticized the actions of the Israeli administration and Israeli army, condemning the arrest of elected officials and slamming the continued aerial bombardment of the Gaza Strip, which on Thursday evening struck a building near the home of Prime Minister Haniyeh.
For their part, Hamas-linked resistance groups have threatened future attacks in light of the continued bombardment of the Gaza Strip and the Israeli policy of kidnapping civilians and elected officials.
“Our strikes against the enemy will continue, we have freed the hand of all our cells to strike the enemy everywhere in Palestine,’ Hamas-linked factions said in a statement released to the press.
In other news, the UN’s Palestinian envoy, Riyad Mansour, has called for the organization to exert all its efforts in establishing a ceasefire in Gaza, even if this should mean dispatching international observers to the region.
“Our desire is to see that the council use its power […] to call for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza, to spread to the West Bank, and maybe to entertain the idea of observers because we are sick and tired of this cycle. If we have observers […] then we will know for sure who is really breaking the cease-fire,” he stated.
In the latest round of attacks, the Israeli army has killed more than 30 Palestinians, at least half of whom were civilians. Scores more lie injured, some critically.
In the same period, one Israeli woman has been killed by Palestinian rocket fire in Sderot. Approximately 15 other people have been injured.