Palestinian leader: Gaza is first step

July 27, 2005 at 3:11 PM

TEL AVIV, Israel, July 27 (UPI) -- Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei said Wednesday Israel's impending withdrawal from Gaza is just a first step toward a Palestinian state.

"We are telling the entire world, today Gaza and tomorrow Jerusalem. Today Gaza and tomorrow an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital," he said, according to the Israeli news Web site Ynet.

Qurei said the Palestinians would not establish a state with the security barrier Israel has built in and around the West Bank nor with "aggressive settlements, and a state will not arise without our achieving all the rights of our Palestinian nation and the right of return (for the refugees)."

The Palestinian forces were ready for the Israeli pullback, he said.

"Our forces are ready to build our homeland and are ready to turn the Israeli withdrawal to one that is orderly, quiet and the beginning of the freeing of the entire homeland," he said.

Addressing security personnel who he visited Qurei said, "With your help, we'll return order, security and the rule of law (to Gaza)."

The Palestinian Authority has warned its people not to go near the Israeli-controlled areas that could be mined.

It also warned the public not to touch border fences, Ynet reported.

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