PA, Hamas warn Israel against response to rocket fire

December 23, 2010

By KHALED ABU TOAMEH, The Jerusalem Post

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday warned Israel against launching a strike on the Gaza Strip in response to the recent spat of rocket attacks.

“Any new Israeli aggression would put the entire peace process in real danger,” Abbas said during a meeting in his office with the EU representative to the Palestinian territories, Christian Berger of Austria.

An IDF operation would “lead to the collapse of all international efforts aimed at salvaging peace,” Abbas said.

He urged the EU to play a larger role in the Middle East peace process, “especially because of the EU’s huge political and economic weight, which enables it to impact all parties to back the peace process.”

The PA president also complained about Israel’s policy of construction in settlements and east Jerusalem.

Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat expressed “deep concern and fear” over the latest escalation along the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip.

Blaming Israel for the escalation, Erekat said it was dangerous and had “many repercussions which make us feel very worried.”

Erekat too warned Israel against launching a new “aggression” on the Gaza Strip, saying such a move would lead to “more complications.”

He cautioned that a military operation would “push the region toward more anarchy and bloodshed.”

Erekat said that Israel had a strategic interest in seeing divisions among the Palestinians continue.

He accused the government of waging a campaign to convince the world that the PA and Abbas were not partners for peace. The government was responsible for the failure of the peace process because of its refusal to stop the construction in the settlements, Erekat said.

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