Abbas, Meshaal seek UN timetable to end Israel occupation

AFP, Friday 22 Aug 2014

The Palestinian president and Hamas's exiled leader Friday urged the United Nations to draw up a "timetable" for the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories to end, Qatar state media said.

President Mahmud Abbas and Hamas supremo Khaled Meshaal issued the appeal during talks in Doha, as fighting continues in the besieged Gaza Strip, Qatar's state news agency QNA said.

The two Palestinian leaders have been holding talks in Doha since Thursday, but little else has filtered out of their meetings which are hosted by the emir of Qatar, a key backer of Hamas.

Their discussions, at the palace of Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, came after fighting in Gaza flared anew on Tuesday as Egyptian-brokered truce efforts collapsed.

Talks broke down with Israel insistent on its demand for security from rocket fire by Gaza militants, and Hamas defiant on its call for an end to eight years of Israeli blockade.

QNA said that Abbas and Meshaal discussed Israel's "aggression" on Gaza and underlined "the importance of acting at all levels in order to... lift Israel's blockade of Gaza".

They also agreed to request from the United Nations "a resolution that would define a timetable for the end of Israel's occupation and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state".

The agency said Abbas would undertake the diplomatic steps necessary to seek such a resolution.

Hamas, which drove Abbas loyalists out of Gaza in 2007, joined a national unity government with the president's Fatah faction in June, sparking Israeli fury.

During their meeting, Abbas and Meshaal stressed that the unity government "represents all the Palestinian people and looks after their interests", QNA said.

It also reported that the Qatari ruler spoke by phone Friday to UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon to discuss efforts to stop "Israel's aggression on Gaza and the lifting of the blockade".

Hamas's armed wing declared truce efforts over on Wednesday after Israel carried out an abortive assassination attempt on its leader Mohammed Deif, killing his wife and two of his children.

At least 2,092 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed since Israel started its assault on Gaza July 8.   

Sixty-eight have been killed on the Israeli side: 64 soldiers and 4 civilians, the latest a four-year-old boy killed by mortar fire on Friday.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online.

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