Mahmoud Abbas Urges Immediate Ceasefire Amid Escalating Israel-Hamas Conflict

This marks Mahmoud Abbas’s initial public address since Hamas initiated the assault against Israel on Saturday. The Palestinian Authority president, during a meeting in Amman with King Abdullah II of Jordan, unequivocally called for “an immediate cessation of the maximum aggression against the Palestinian people.” As Israel unleashed a barrage of bombs and rockets on Gaza, Abbas emphasized the rejection of practices leading to civilian casualties or mistreatment on both sides.

Expressing deep concern, Abbas highlighted the potential consequences of the shutdown of Gaza Strip’s sole power plant due to a lack of fuel. He warned that this action could result in a “real catastrophe for all health and humanitarian services” in the densely populated territory, home to 2.4 million inhabitants. The Gaza Strip has been under Israeli blockade since 2007 when Hamas assumed control, displacing Abbas’s Fatah, which now holds authority primarily in certain areas of the occupied West Bank.

The power plant was halted on Wednesday afternoon, leading to overwhelmed hospitals and a shortage of essential equipment. Israeli Energy Minister Israel Katz asserted on Thursday that his country would withhold basic necessities and humanitarian aid to Gaza until Hamas released individuals captured by the Islamist movement. According to the Israeli government, around 150 Israelis, foreigners, and dual nationals are being held hostage by Hamas.

Emphasizing the legitimacy of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), to which Fatah belongs but not Hamas, Abbas stated that it is the “only legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, renouncing violence and adhering to international legitimacy.” Hamas is designated a “terrorist organization” by Israel, the United States, and the European Union.

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