Gaza ‘integral part’ of Palestinian state: Abbas

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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Gaza was an “integral part” of the Palestinian state during talks with a top US official at his West Bank headquarters Friday, his office said.

The meeting came as Israel pressed its offensive in Gaza despite mounting international calls for restraint, with key backer the United States saying the war must not lead to a long-term Israeli occupation of the territory.

Abbas told visiting US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan that “Gaza is an integral part of the State of Palestine,” his office said in a statement, adding that “the president underscored that separation or any attempt to isolate any part of it is unacceptable.”

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Abbas “emphasized the urgent need to halt the ongoing Israeli aggression, particularly the genocide being carried out these days upon the Palestinian people in Gaza,” the statement added.

He said it was crucial to “spare civilians from the woes and devastation caused by the Israeli war machine.”

Sullivan’s visit to the region has also included meetings in Israel with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

The United States, which provides billions of dollars in military aid to Israel, has strongly backed its response to Hamas’s attacks, but has voiced increasing concern over civilian casualties and the long-term plan for Gaza.

The war began after Hamas launched an unprecedented attack on Israel on October 7 that Israeli officials say killed about 1,200 people, mostly civilians.

The health ministry in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip says the war has since killed more than 18,700 people, mostly women and children.

The United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly supported a non-binding resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, but Washington voted against it.

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