Abbas voices concerns for future of Gaza Strip
In a statement made on Wednesday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas expressed concern that the Gaza Strip could become "one large prison" without ample access to the outside world following the withdrawal of Israeli occupation forces from the area next month.
Abbas added that he rejected the idea of two separate Palestinian entities--the Gaza Strip and the West Bank--where citizens would be cut off from one another. The issue of free and safe passage between the two areas was one which he raised with US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice during her visit to the region last weekend. Abbas added that Israel has yet to supply necessary information regarding details surrounding the planned withdrawal, Emirates based Al Khaleej reported.
The Palestinian president also cited the possibility of an Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip alone, which would leave the West Bank under occupation.
Referring to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Abbas stressed "Perhaps he would be satisfied with a withdrawal from Gaza, but this would mean Sharon does not want peace.”
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