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11 November 2009 

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Abbas Renews Call for Settlement Halt

11 November 2009

Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas
Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas (File)
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has repeated a call for Israel to halt settlement activity in order for peace negotiations to resume.

Mr. Abbas issued the call Wednesday at a gathering in the West Bank marking the fifth anniversary of the death of his predecessor Yasser Arafat.

Commemorations for Mr. Arafat have been banned in the Gaza Strip, which is ruled by Hamas - the rival of Mr. Arafat's Fatah movement.

The anniversary comes during a difficult time for the Middle East peace process, and the settlement issue is a key sticking point.

Earlier this week, President Abbas threatened to resign due to a lack of progress in the peace process, a move that officials say could result in the collapse of the Palestinian Authority.

Mr. Arafat won the Nobel Prize in 1994 along with then-Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and Israeli President Shimon Peres, for their efforts to create peace in the Middle East.

He became ill in 2004, and was flown to a hospital in France, where he died at the age of 75.

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