Arab League chief blames Israel for Gaza infighting
May 19, 2007 - 8:33:56 AM
Dead Sea -, May 19 - Arab League Secretary General Amr Mussa has called for fighting between Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah to stop, but blamed the battles on Israel and its continuation of an economic siege on the Palestinian areas.
'The inter-Palestinian fighting cannot be averted because the Israeli troops surround the Palestinian fighters and besiege the Palestinian people to starvation limits at a time when the unemployment rate was exceeding 70 percent,' Mussa said.
The siege of the Palestinians 'has created a psychological atmosphere that degenerated into the present situation,' he said, but added that the feuding between Hamas and Fatah 'cannot be justified.'
'This fighting should stop because it harms the Palestinian and Arab attitudes and benefits Israel,' he said.
Mussa made the remarks to reporters on the fringes of the World Economic Forum - meeting that opened Friday at the Dead Sea.
Mussa rejected anew Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's offer to open negotiations with Arab leaders, saying 'we don't need formal visits and media propaganda'.
'Israel has first to stop settlements and talk directly to the Palestinians and realize that the Arab peace plan is quite clear and represents an unequivocal message of peace,' he said.
The Arab League chief said that the participants in a plenary session about peace, stability and international relations in the region had expressed worry over the situation and urged the US to take a more neutral approach to the issues.
The members 'came to the conclusion that the situation in the region is extremely bad and that the United States should change its pro-Israel policies,' he said.
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