RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday said that security and stability in Palestine and Israel is unattainable unless the Israeli government ends its military occupation of Palestinian land.
In a televised speech commemorating the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat’s death, Abbas said that Palestinians are determined to live with freedom and dignity and condemned Israel’s plans to extend the occupation through settlement expansion, saying they made peace elusive.“This land is ours, we were born here, we lived here, our fathers and grandfathers lived here, we build our present and future and cherish our history and cultural heritage of thousands of years on this holy land,” Abbas said.The president added that settlements, violence, and terrorism by the Israeli government against Palestinians — including executions, holding the bodies of killed Palestinians, arbitrary detentions and home demolitions — would not stop Palestinians from moving forward on the road to freedom, sovereignty and independence.Large rallies were held in Hebron, Ramallah, Bethlehem, and other West Bank cities to commemorate Arafat’s death in 2004, with crowds of people waving Palestinian flags and carrying portraits of Arafat.Arafat died in France on November 11 2004 at the age of 75, but doctors were unable to specify the cause of death. No autopsy was carried out at the time, in line with his widow’s request.
His remains were exhumed in November 2012 and samples were taken, partly to investigate whether he had been poisoned — a suspicion that grew after the assassination of Russian ex-spy and Kremlin critic Alexander Litvinenko in 2006.
The investigation has yet to announce a concrete cause of death.