Abbas wins Arab states' backing

Arab League chief says goal is to serve Palestinian cause, not a particular faction.

    Hamas fighters posed for photographs after capturing the presidential compound in Gaza City [Reuters]

    National unity
    "We are seeking a national unity in Palestine and we stand against the events that we have witnessed in the last days," Amr Moussa, the Arab League chief, said in the Egyptian capital.
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    He said there must be an "immediate and full halt" to the violence.
    Moussa said that Arab countries want to "serve the Palestinian cause, and not one faction against another".
    Egypt's state MENA news agency quoted Prince Saud al-Faisal, Saudi Arabia's foreign minister, as asking the Arab League in dismay whether Palestinians had forgotten a commitment made in Mecca earlier this year to "unite and never to fight".
    Meanwhile, Egypt pulled its diplomatic mission out of the coastal strip, citing security reasons.
    Separately, Egyptian police said close to 100 Fatah officials crossed into Egypt from Gaza Strip in the early hours of Friday, fleeing the Hamas takeover.
    Israel's military said on Friday that all crossings into the Gaza Strip had been closed "until further notice."

    But the country's Channel Two TV said Israel was briefly opening the Erez crossing into Israel to enable other Fatah leaders to get out.

    Fayyad backed
    The Arab League backed Abbas's decision to apppoint Salam Fayyad, the World Bank economist turned Palestinian finance minister, as prime minister, saying that the "legitimacy of his leadership" must be respected.
    Jordan also underlined its backing for Abbas' government.
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    Voices from Gaza

    The government rejects "any dissent or defiance to the legitimate authority" and stressed "the necessity to protect the Palestinian National Authority and its President Mahmoud Abbas", Nasser Judeh, the spokesman, said in a statement carried by the official Petra news agency.
    Jordan's King Abdullah called Abbas to express sadness for the situation in Gaza and called for an immediate end to the infighting, Petra reported.
    Hamas control
    On the ground, the situation remained tense but calm. On Friday, Hamas fighters entered the seaside compound used by Abbas on visits to Gaza, rifling through the president's belongings in his bedroom, next to his office.
    They lifted the mattress and searched drawers.

    Haniya promises the government will
    continue to function in Gaza [EPA]

    Looters stripped the home of Mohammed Dahlan, the former Fatah security chief, of everything from windows and doors to flowerpots.
    "This was the house of the murderer Dahlan that was cleansed by the holy warriors," read graffiti sprayed on the wall.
    Donkey carts outside the house waited to take more loot. Dahlan was in Egypt when the fighting erupted, and reached the West Bank on Thursday.
    Two men were killed in revenge slayings on Friday, including a Fatah fighter thrown from a roof in what Hamas described as a family grievance - the fighter, they said, had killed a member of a Hamas-allied family.
    Another Fatah loyalist was shot dead in southern Gaza.
    Since Hamas's victory late on Thursday, about a dozen Fatah fighters had been killed in gangland-style executions, Fatah said.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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