Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat :

Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat : Abbas to Aswat Asharq Al-Awsatt : Gaza is PA Responsibility, Will Act Upon Ceasefire

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (AFP)
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (AFP)

Abbas to Aswat Asharq Al-Awsatt : Gaza is PA Responsibility, Will Act Upon Ceasefire

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (AFP)
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (AFP)

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas reaffirmed that the Palestinian Authority (PA) is responsible for the Gaza Strip and ready to act once Israeli attacks stop.

Speaking to Aswat Asharq Al-Awsatt, Abbas said that the PA is prepared to fulfill its duties “immediately upon cessation of aggression against our people.”

“We have been and continue to be responsible for Gaza, and we will remain so,” he reaffirmed.

The Palestinian leader emphasized the need to work with Arab, regional, and international partners to avoid further harm to Palestinians.

Abbas praised Saudi Arabia’s supportive stance on Palestine as “historic, honorable, authentic, and steadfast.”

He further commended a recent Saudi statement that emphasized the priority of recognizing a Palestinian state over any comprehensive peace and normalization, “especially in these critical circumstances facing the region and the world.”

As for the US, Abbas criticized the Biden administration for not pressuring Israel enough for a peaceful solution. He spoke of the absence of an “Israeli partner” after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu became a “hindrance” to the peace process.

He also noted the internal Palestinian issue of forming a new government, asserting his people’s independence in decision-making.

When asked about whether Palestinians were headed towards statehood or another “Nakba”, Abbas reaffirmed Palestine’s “commitment to establishing an independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital, a long-standing national objective supported by Palestinian national councils.”

Despite global recognition, he stressed the ongoing efforts to gain full international recognition and elevate Palestine's status in the UN.

He warned against attempts to uproot Palestinians from their land, pledging to collaborate with Arab, regional, and international partners to prevent another Nakba.

Abbas emphasized the dire consequences of destabilizing the region, particularly amid ongoing tensions.

Israeli Error, A Roadmap to Cease Gaza Tragedy

“The unfolding tragedy in Gaza and Palestinian territories is unparalleled, marked by systematic destruction perpetrated by Israeli forces, aimed at dismantling Palestinian infrastructure under the guise of security,” said Abbas.

He highlighted the grave Israeli miscalculation, stressing that peace and security can only be achieved by immediately halting hostilities.

Abbas called for the complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza without territorial annexations and swift delivery of humanitarian aid.

He reiterated Palestine’s steadfastness against forced displacement and advocated for a political solution based on international legitimacy and the Arab Peace Initiative.

“It starts with recognizing Palestine as a state and securing full UN membership through a Security Council resolution,” said Abbas, adding that this, followed by an international peace conference with guarantees and a clear timeline, can help end Israeli occupation of Palestinian land.

“This paves the way for an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as the capital, based on 1967 borders,” said the PA head.

Abbas underscored the failure of Israel’s security and military strategies against Palestinians, urging the international community, particularly the US, to uphold international law and resolutions.

As for whether US Secretary of State Antony Blinken conveyed a commitment to officially recognize the Palestinian state or not, Abbas said: “We've had several meetings with top US officials, including Blinken, Sullivan, and Burns, and they've assured us of their commitment to the two-state solution and supporting peace efforts based on international law.”

“However, despite these talks, there hasn't been any tangible progress on the ground,” he argued, lambasting the Biden administration for not having pressured the right-wing Israeli government enough to see real change.

“Israel continues to undermine the political process, rejecting international resolutions, and escalating violence against Palestinians, especially in Gaza, along with discrimination in the West Bank and East Jerusalem,” said Abbas.

The president noted that the US keeps backing Israeli occupation.

“What matters most is action on the ground, not just words,” he said about statements by the Biden administration.

“We’re calling on the US to implement what’s needed for a genuine political process based on international law, ensuring security and stability for all,” affirmed Abbas.

The Solution Requires "Genuine American Will"

Regarding plans for a mechanism to open up the political horizon through a Security Council resolution or another format, Abbas said: “The mechanism is clear—it's about implementing a Security Council resolution granting Palestine full UN membership and organizing an international peace conference under UN auspices.”

“This would establish a supported action plan with clear guarantees and a timeline, based on international law and legitimacy. It only needs sincere international will, especially from the US.”

Vis-à-vis the establishment of the Palestinian state being conditional on its recognition of Israel and international security guarantees for the Israeli state, Abbas affirmed that Palestinians were committed to their international obligations.

“According to the Oslo Accords, recognition was exchanged between the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Israel,” he reminded.

“We’re committed to our obligations despite Israeli resistance. What's needed now is Israel’s recognition of Palestine,” added Abbas.

With regard to Hamas joining the PLO, Abbas stressed that the group needs to respect the PLO’s commitments.

“The PLO is the sole representative of Palestinians. Joining requires commitment to its unity and agreements. All Palestinian factions can join, but they must respect the PLO’s decisions,” said Abbas.

Saudi Position: Proud, Historic

According to Abbas, Saudi Arabia’s stance, from the era of the founder King Abdulaziz Al Saud, to King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has been “historically honorable, authentic, and steadfast towards the Palestinian people and their just cause.”

“The recent Saudi statement reaffirming its unwavering support for Palestine is a continuation of its longstanding commitment to the Palestinian cause.”

“Saudi Arabia remains dedicated to securing Palestinian rights, including freedom, independence, and the establishment of their state with East Jerusalem as its capital.”

“We appreciate Saudi Arabia’s steadfast support, especially during these challenging times.”

“This support aligns with international legitimacy and reflects ongoing coordination between Saudi Arabia and Palestine.”

Netanyahu: Obstacle to Peace

Abbas stressed that he does not believe in Netanyahu being fit to play a role in seeking peace.

“Frankly, there's currently no Israeli partner for achieving lasting peace,” he said.

“Netanyahu is clearly a stumbling block to a political solution based on international legitimacy and law.”

“He lacks the belief in achieving peace and ending the occupation for Palestinians and Israelis to live in security and stability instead of the repeated failures of wars and security solutions.”

“I think the world now understands well our assertion that Netanyahu obstructs current international efforts to stop Israel's war and pursue a political path based on international legitimacy.”

“His rejection of the two-state solution and his announcement of continuing the war on Gaza are clear evidence of his public refusal of the peace process and achieving security and stability.”

“He believes only in the logic of occupation, power, and settlement.”

Attempts to Ignite the West Bank

Israel’s actions in Gaza are fueling tensions in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. This, according to Abbas, risks another uprising.

The palestinian leader accused Israel of killing, arresting, and raiding Palestinian areas while protecting settler extremists.

“We've warned world leaders, including the US, that if this continues, things could spiral out of control,” he cautioned, adding that there’s not enough pressure on Israel to stop.

“Despite this, we're working to keep things calm and prevent further escalation,” said Abbas about the PA’s efforts to stabilize the West Bank and Palestinian territories.

“Israel wants to avoid a political solution that ends its occupation, so it's trying to stir up trouble,” explained Abbas.

Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat : Siddiq al-Mahdi: Sudanese Public Unites on Need to End War

Secretary-General of the Sudanese Coordination of Civil Democratic Forces (Taqaddum), Siddiq al-Mahdi (Aswat Asharq Al-Awsatt)
Secretary-General of the Sudanese Coordination of Civil Democratic Forces (Taqaddum), Siddiq al-Mahdi (Aswat Asharq Al-Awsatt)

Siddiq al-Mahdi: Sudanese Public Unites on Need to End War

Secretary-General of the Sudanese Coordination of Civil Democratic Forces (Taqaddum), Siddiq al-Mahdi (Aswat Asharq Al-Awsatt)
Secretary-General of the Sudanese Coordination of Civil Democratic Forces (Taqaddum), Siddiq al-Mahdi (Aswat Asharq Al-Awsatt)

Siddiq al-Mahdi, Secretary-General of the Sudanese Coordination of Civil Democratic Forces (Taqaddum), stressed the urgent need for humanitarian aid to Sudanese citizens suffering from the ongoing conflict.

In an interview with Aswat Asharq Al-Awsatt in Addis Ababa, al-Mahdi criticized the National Congress Party for manipulating its alliance with the military to advance its political goals.

Al-Mahdi said he would only engage in the political process if the party ends its connection with the military and security forces.

He highlighted a growing recognition of the need to end the war, noting a shift away from military solutions as a positive sign of Sudanese public opinion converging on the need for peace.

The Taqaddum official said this change has reduced support for the war and increased regional and international calls for its end.

Al-Mahdi warned that the war has caused a severe humanitarian crisis and poses threats to the region, neighboring countries, the Horn of Africa, and Red Sea security.

“The need to stop the war is now urgent, and we must act on this,” he said.

He praised international efforts, including the Paris and Cairo conferences and the UN's attempts to bring the warring sides together in Geneva for aid and protection.

Al-Mahdi also revealed that his coalition had proposed a plan to the military and Rapid Support Forces, focusing on humanitarian aid, political arrangements to end the war, and a transition to civilian democracy.

He stressed that the humanitarian situation cannot wait for the war to end.

“Providing aid and protecting citizens are urgent priorities. We need to act now to deliver aid, even before the war ends,” he said.

He noted that the best approach involves coordinating initiatives from various platforms, including Jeddah, IGAD, and its key member states Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda, as well as Bahrain, the UAE, Egypt, the African Union, and the United Nations.

Al-Mahdi emphasized that all these entities are working on humanitarian and peace efforts.

He stated that any alignment among mediators, conflict parties, and civil components is viewed by Taqaddum as a comprehensive process for achieving peace.