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Diana Alghoul

President Abbas: 'Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Palestine'

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is losing credibility across Palestine [Getty]

Date of publication: 6 August, 2017

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President Mahmoud Abbas has said that Jerusalem will remain the eternal capital of a Palestinian state, as he attempts to shore credibility following recent setbacks.
President Mahmoud Abbas referred to Jerusalem as "Palestine's eternal capital city" during a speech on Saturday evening which appears to be an attempt to gain credibility among Palestinians.

Abbas, who is rapidly losing support among Palestinians, spoke to a group of Jerusalemites at the presidential headquarters in Ramallah, according to Palestine's state agency Wafa.

"We must make sure the victory in Jerusalem is not lost so we achieve further victories in the future," Abbas said.

It follows criticism for Abbas' public absence during recent tensions between Palestinians and Israel in Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank.

"The Palestinian leaders listened to what Jerusalemites' asked, which is something that will continue," he said, following discussions about mass acts of civil-disobedience organised by Palestinians in Jerusalem.

Abbas, whose presidency expired in 2009, also said that the mistakes of 1948 - when Israel was founded - must not be repeated and urged the Palestinian people to be patient.

The Palestinian Authority's role during the peak of the Jerusalem unrest - centered on the al-Aqsa Mosque - has been described in minimal, when Abbas was in China.

An Israeli ban on huge numbers of Palestinians from entering al-Aqsa, saw Abbas on a backfoot from religious and civil leaders.

The first to announce the end of the boycott of al-Aqsa Mosque were the Muslim leaders of Jerusalem with Abbas following suit shortly after.

Abbas has also largely criticised for playing a divisive role in Palestinian politics. He is regularly accused of exasperating the humanitarian crisis in Gaza in an attempt to seize power over the besieged enclave.

In April, the PA announced that it would no longer pay Israel for electricity it supplies to the Gaza Strip, raising fears of a complete power shutdown in the besieged territory.

The move was announced in a statement by Israel's Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) and was immediately branded as a power play by Abbas against rival Hamas authorities in Gaza.

The decision cut power supplies which provide around 30 percent of Gaza's electricity needs.

This has led to Hamas meeting with exiled former PA strongman and Abbas rival Mohammed Dahlan to negotiate talks with Egypt to relieve the Gaza electricity crisis.

The move caused widespread concern among Abbas supporters.

There were recent media reports that Abbas had urged Hamas to stop dealing with Dahlan in exchange for granting Gazans their basic right to electricity.

The PA had neither officially confirmed nor denied the reports. 

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