Abbas: Palestinian Authority is not about to collapse

By Shawn Price  |  Jan. 7, 2016 at 5:25 AM
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BETHLEHEM, West Bank, Jan. 7 (UPI) -- Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in a speech Wednesday disregarded rumors his government was about to collapse.

Speaking from his office in Bethlehem, Abbas said only a Palestinian state would succeed the Palestinian Authority, despite stories that Israel was planning for its fall.

"No one should dream of its collapse," he said.

Abbas has however threatened to dissolve his government before and "hand the keys back to Israel."

Wednesday was Abbas' first public appearance since recent rumors the 80-year-old had suffered a stroke and was being treated in Jordan. His office denied the rumors.

Abbas also said he was opposed to violence. He condemned Israel's shooting of rock-throwing protesters, saying that many Palestinian protests were peaceful as he called for an international peace summit, similar to the Iran nuclear deal.

"We don't want our children to be killed, we want them alive," Abbas said. "We will always support non-violent struggle."

About 130 Palestinians and 20 Israelis have been killed in recent acts of violence between the two sides, but he warned against turning the struggle into a religious one.

He also vowed his people would continue to demand the removal of all West Bank settlements

"This is our land and all the settlers must leave and they will leave as was the case in the Gaza Strip," Abbas said.

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