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Palestinians are on the verge of civil war, and the infighting is worse than Israeli military rule, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas said yesterday.

"Regarding our internal situation, what concerns us all is the chaos, and more specifically, being on the verge of civil war," Abbas said in a televised speech marking the 40th anniversary of the Six-Day War, in which Israel captured the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.

He added that he has spent hundreds of negotiating hours trying to halt the bloodshed because the internal fighting is as bad as, or even worse than, the occupation.

Abbas warned that the factional fighting has harmed the Palestinians' international standing. He also criticized the kidnapping of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit a year ago and the continued rocket fire at Israeli towns near Gaza.