Abbas Declares War With Israel Effectively Over

(New York Times) Steven Erlanger - Mahmoud Abbas said in an interview Saturday that the war with the Israelis is effectively over and that Ariel Sharon is speaking "a different language" to the Palestinians. "And now he has a partner," Abbas said. Abbas spoke with pride about persuading the radical groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad to respect the mutual declaration of a truce that he and Sharon announced last Tuesday in Sharm el-Sheik. Abbas said he was surprised that the armed militants embraced his candidacy: "All the fugitives came to me from all factions and said: 'We are for you. You were with us, and we want you to solve our problems.'" They want real jobs in the PA security forces, he said. "I promised them, and now it is realized." Was the armed intifada a mistake? "We cannot say it was a mistake," he said. "But any war will have an end." Asked about Hamas and Islamic Jihad, he said: "Of course they don't want what I want! They want to come to power if they can. For that they ran in municipal elections and after that they will go" to the legislative elections. "It means that they will be converted in time into political parties." "Whether they consider it a stage or not, they will accept an Israeli state within the 1967 borders and they declare it," he said. "For me it is not a stage; for them it is a stage."

2005-02-14 00:00:00

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