Abbas Encourages Students to be Martyrs

Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) spoke to Gaza students and praised martyrs, including suicide terrorists, who die "according to a national order."

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Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu, | updated: 00:40

"They receive their reward in the Garden Of Eden," Abbas told the students returning to school. He reminded them that martyrs and suicide terrorists "brought about the withdrawal from Gaza." His comments came only three months after he told the American ABC television network that suicide bombings are a matter of the past.

The PA chairman, who is trying to gain popularity from Hamas terrorist supporters, also told the Jerusalem Arab Al-Quds newspaper that Israel still is occupying Gaza. Israel and the PA have not agreed on procedures at the international border crossing and at the Erez crossing in northern Gaza.

Abbas added that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is prepared to meet with him at the United Nations later this month, but that the meeting will be limited to procedural issues. Government sources said the meeting may not take place at the U.N. and could be delayed until after the two return from New York.

He reiterated the possibility of forming a coalition with Hamas after the planned PA legislative elections in January, despite dissatisfaction within the American government, which has added Hamas to the list of terrorist organizations forbidden to receive assistance from the United States. A PA coalition government including Hamas would bring into question whether the PA could continue to receive American aid.