Abbas may quit over Gaza violence

Mahmoud Abbas may resign in protest of Israel’s recent raids on the Gaza Strip, aides said.

The Jerusalem Post on Thursday quoted senior aides to the Palestinian Authority president as saying Abbas could step down unless Israel calls off a Gaza offensive that has killed nearly 30 this week.

“Israel’s actions undermine the Palestinian Authority and drive more Palestinians into the open arms of Hamas and Islamic Jihad,” one aide said.

According to the report, Abbas is worried that the violence could undermine his efforts to revive peace talks with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert after the November conference in Annapolis, Md., and last week’s visit to the region by President Bush.

As a first step before any decision by Abbas to resign, he could disband the Palestinian Authority’s peace negotiation team, The Jerusalem Post added.

Israeli officials had no immediate comment but Olmert, speaking in Tel Aviv, vowed to press the offensive against Gazan terrorists responsible for cross-border rocket launches while pursuing peace talks with Abbas.

“I will do everything in order to advance the negotiations and, in the coming year, to reach understandings which will produce a peace agreement between us and the Palestinian Authority,” he said.

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