Abbas rejects Malaysian PM visit to Gaza saying it divides Palestine

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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas denounced on Wednesday the Malaysian prime minister’s recent visit to Gaza, saying that it “enhances division and does not serve the Palestinian interests,” reported local news agency WAFA.

“The Palestinian presidency announces its rejection and condemnation of the Malaysian prime minister's visit to Gaza,” a statement said.

Abbas's bureau called on the Malaysian government to provide “clarification,” saying that Prime Minister Najib Razak called Abbas earlier and told him that Malaysia was going to provide humanitarian aid to the strip, and that he will meet a Palestinian delegation in Cairo afterwards.

“[The visit] undermines Palestinian representation and reinforces the division and does not serve Palestinian interests,” it continued.

The bureau considered the visit a contribution to a conspiracy aiming to “divide the Palestinian land;” one that “serves Israeli plans to keep Jerusalem isolated from the Palestinian state,” the agency reported.

On Tuesday, the Malaysian prime minster pledged solidarity with the Palestinians on his first trip to Gaza, throwing his support behind reconciliation efforts between Hamas and Fatah.

Najib, who entered via the Rafah crossing from Egypt with Foreign Minister Anifah Aman and other officials, was met by Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniya.

Speaking shortly after his arrival, Najib said his visit was intended “to show solidarity and our support for the struggle of the Palestinian people.”

“We may come from thousands of miles away ... but we are one Umma (Muslim nation) and we believe in the struggle of the Palestinian people,” he said.

Najib also expressed support for renewed reconciliation efforts between the Islamist movement Hamas and the rival Fatah party, including attempts to form a consensus government to pave the way for new elections.

Amid criticism of his visit from Fatah headed by President Abbas, Najib said a unity government would be a good “response” to Israeli elections which were under way on Tuesday.

“We believe in this unity government and we pray to Allah that the talks will be successful and a united government will become a reality in the near future,” Najib said.

Haniya commented on the vote, warning that "the trend of the Israeli elections suggests a move from an extremist government to a more extreme government."

“This requires us as Palestinians, and Arabs, and Muslims, to build a unified strategy to confront rising Zionist extremism.”

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