Palestinian Arabs Rally Around Abbas Ahead of US Visit
Thousands of Palestinian Arabs marched in the Palestinian Authority (PA)'s largest cities Monday, according to AFP, urging Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to stand firm in rejecting Israel's needs in the peace process during his upcoming meeting with US President Barack Obama.
Demonstrators waved PA and Fatah flags, chanting "we are with you, president!" during the rallies, which took place in Ramallah, Shechem, and Hevron.
"We're here today to stand up to pressures upon us and make sure president Abbas adheres to his convictions," said Nasser Eddin al-Shaer - a Hamas member and former PA official - who joined the march in Shechem.
Abbas and Obama are due to meet Monday, shortly after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met with the US President over talks. An April 29 deadline looms, creating tension on all sides.
The PA Chairman has already refused flatly to recognize Israel as a Jewish state - a key point in talks - and will reportedly only agree to extend talks if Israel allows a "right of return" for Palestinian Arabs, free terrorist leaders, and withdraw from Judea and Samaria.
On Saturday, Abbas’s spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, said that the PA Chairman plans to speak with Obama on all issues related to the realization of a two-state solution and the establishment of "a just and balanced peace" that will result in the establishment of an independent Palestinian state whose capital is Jerusalem.
Abbas has consistently said that unless all his preconditions are met, there will be no peace with Israel.
In a recent appearance broadcast by PA TV, Abbas clearly stated: no Jewish communities will remain in the PA, and 5 million “refugees” worldwide, “from Canada to Japan” – including all of the descendants of Arabs who fled Israel in 1948 – will have the right to “return” to Israel.