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Abbas: ‘Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the state of Palestine’

Aug. 5, 2017 10:24 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 6, 2017 5:13 P.M.)
(File)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- In a speech on Saturday evening, Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas called Jerusalem "the eternal capital of the state of Palestine and nothing else."

Addressing hundreds of Jerusalemite Palestinians in the presidential headquarters in Ramallah, official Palestinian news agency Wafa quoted Abbas as saying that the "Palestinian leadership listened to Jerusalemites’ appeals and would continue to do so."

Abbas applauded Palestinian residents of Jerusalem for their courage and strength during 13 days of protests in July denouncing new Israeli security measures at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the wake of a deadly shooting at the compound on July 14.

Despite Israeli forces’ violent repression of demonstrations across the occupied Palestinian territory, during which six Palestinians were killed, Israel eventually backtracked and removed all new security apparatus at the compound, in what was celebrated as a victory of popular Palestinian mobilization.

"We should preserve the victory achieved in Jerusalem to achieve another victory or to take another step forward," Abbas said.

"We will all remain as murabitun (recruits) in Jerusalem, in Al-Aqsa, and in the land of ribat,” he added, using an Islamic term referring to the defense of Islam.

While Israel officially annexed East Jerusalem in 1980, according to Palestinians and the international community the city has remained an intricate part of the occupied Palestinian territory and would be considered the capital of any future Palestinian state.

The fate of Jerusalem has been a focal point of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for decades, with numerous tensions arising over Israeli threats regarding the status of non-Jewish religious sites in the city, and the "Judaization" of East Jerusalem through settlement construction and mass demolitions of Palestinian homes.

Abbas added that the mistakes of 1948 -- when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were forcibly displaced during the creation of the state of Israel, in what came to be known as the Nakba, or catastrophe -- would not be repeated.

Speaking about intra-Palestinian issues, Abbas confirmed that the PA would continue to reduce financial support to the Gaza Strip as long as the Hamas movement did not stick to the PA-mandated terms of reconciliation.

Abbas’ comments on the issue came as Hamas announced on Thursday its readiness to do away with its administrative committee in Gaza, should the Fatah-led PA retract all punitive measures imposed on the besieged coastal enclave in recent months.
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