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Palestinians call on Abbas not to resign

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announces his decision not to seek reelection in the January elections during a speech in Ramallah, West Bank, November 5, 2009. President Abbas cited disappointment with the US policy on Israeli settlements as one of the factors that led to his decision. UPI/Debbie Hill
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announces his decision not to seek reelection in the January elections during a speech in Ramallah, West Bank, November 5, 2009. President Abbas cited disappointment with the US policy on Israeli settlements as one of the factors that led to his decision. UPI/Debbie Hill | License Photo

JERUSALEM, Nov. 9 (UPI) -- Palestinians demonstrated Monday urging President Mahmoud Abbas to remain in office days after he announced his intention to resign, officials said.

Crowds gathered in the West Bank city of Ramallah to express support for the Palestinian president and called on him not to resume peace talks with Israel until a total West Bank settlement freeze is imposed, al-Arabiya said.

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During visits to Hebron and Bethlehem Sunday, Abbas accused Israel of rejecting peace.

"They (Israel) don't want a halt to settlements and they don't want a vision of two states because they don't want peace," Abbas was quoted saying during his visit to the two West Bank cities.

Palestinian Authority negotiator Saeb Erekat denied Abbas's decision to step down was a tactic to prompt the United States and the international community to pressure Israel, al-Arabiya said.

Quoting unnamed Palestinian sources, Haaretz Monday said even if Abbas tried to resign, he would likely be asked to remain in office as a temporary president for an extended period because Hamas refuses to hold elections in Gaza and Fatah said it will not hold elections in the West Bank until Hamas reverses its decision.

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