P.A. Wants U.S. to Stop Gaza Op

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CBNNews.com - RAMALLAH - Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas asked the US to pressure Israel against a large-scale invasion into the Gaza Strip.

"We have approached the US administration with an official request to prevent an Israeli military attack on the Gaza Strip," a member of Abbas's Fatah government told Jerusalem Post Palestinian Affairs correspondent Khaled Abu Toameh.

"We fear that [Prime Minister Ehud] Olmert will order an attack on the Gaza Strip to divert attention from the latest corruption scandal [he's facing]," he said.

Abbas threatened to resign if Israel opts to invade the Gaza Strip, which he said would sabotage the peace process and weaken his popularity in PA-controlled areas in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank).

The PA president's popularity rose after his decision to seek reconciliation with Hamas.

Abbas, who is seeking support from Arab countries in reuniting Fatah and Hamas, said he rejects a military solution in the Gaza Strip.

"Of course we won't accept such a thing," Abbas said. "We continue to believe that the only way to deal with the situation in the Gaza Strip is through dialogue [with Hamas]," he said.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is due to arrive in the region Saturday.

Rice plans to hold a three-way discussion on Monday with Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, head of the Israeli negotiating team, and former PA Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia, head of the PA delegation.

Rice, who will meet with Abbas in Ramallah Sunday, will have to reconcile the PA president's announcement to reunite with Hamas.

The US, Israel and the PA have all said there can be no reconciliation with a group that won't accept Israel's right to exist or renounce terrorism.

Source: The Jerusalem Post

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