Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas expressed hope on Monday that the coming year would see the implementation of a Palestinian state, AFP reports.
Lighting a torch in the grounds of his Ramallah headquarters to start the celebrations of the 48th anniversary of his Fatah movement, he spoke of last month's United Nations vote upgrading the Palestinian Authority's status to a non-member observer state, referring to it as the "birth certificate" of a Palestinian state.
"We have a birth certificate... and we want to complete the march toward full independence," Abbas said, according to AFP. "Next year, 2013, will be the year of statehood and independence."
The West insists that a Palestinian state must be achieved through peace negotiations with Israel, but since 2009 Abbas has refused to come to the negotiating table with Israel and has continuously tried to impose preconditions on talks.
One of his longstanding demands is that Israel accept the pre-1967 lines as final borders. He has also demanded that Israel release all Arab terrorists from its jails, and halt construction in Judea, Samaria and east Jerusalem for a second time before talks begin. At the same time, he has refused to recognize Israel’s right to exist. His Fatah party's newly adopted logo shows all of Israel as Palestine.
Even when Israel imposed a ten-month freeze on Jewish construction in an attempt to bring Abbas back to the negotiating table, he refused, choosing instead to impose more preconditions.
Meanwhile, his Fatah movement is on Tuesday to mark its anniversary in Gaza, AFP reported. It will be the first time Fatah celebrates in Gaza since its rival, Hamas, seized power there in a bloody 2007 coup.
Under Egyptian mediation, the two groups made a reconciliation agreement in April 2011, although it has so far not been implemented.
Abbas called on Monday for the deal to be completed, saying that there was a "national consensus" for unity, which was needed "to build on what has been achieved with the recognition of our state and the steadfastness in the face of Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip."
The Fatah anniversary commemorates the first terror attack it carried out against Israel on January 1, 1965.