Abbas - Reuters - Nov 16, 2011
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, November 16, 2011. Photo by Reuters
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President Mahmoud Abbas called Wednesday on the Palestinians to mount non-violent resistance to Israel's occupation of the West Bank.

"We will not succumb to the occupation and we will not give up on our rights," he said at a ceremony in the city of Ramallah to commemorate Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, who died seven years ago.

"We know how to defend our rights in ways and methods, including popular resistance. I call for the widest participation possible in this resistance," Abbas said.

He added that the non-violent resistance was meant as a constant reminder to the world that Israel continues to occupy Palestinian land.

Abbas said he would meet Hamas leader Khaled Mishaal on November23 to discuss implementation of an Egyptian-brokered unity agreement between his Fatah party and its rival Islamist movement, which controls the Gaza Strip.

"We should answer the question: Where are we going? Because the future is important for all of us," Abbas said.

He added that the Palestinian would not let go of their application for full membership in the United Nations, which he submitted in September.

"We will get full membership no matter how long it will take and regardless of the obstacles," he said. "We will ask the world for our right, which have been long forgotten."

Abbas reemphasized that the goal of joining the United Nations is not to isolate or de-legitimize Israel, but rather to "isolate and de-legitimize Israel's policies in the world."

He also said that the Palestinians look at the United States as a friend in spite of its pro-Israel policies.

Abbas reiterated that he would not hold peace negotiations with Israel unless it stopped settlement activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Abbas has said he wants to establish a Palestinian state in the West Bank with East Jerusalem as its capital.

"Without these two conditions, there will be no negotiations," he said. "We do not want negotiations that go on forever and which go around in an empty circle."