( dpa ) - President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday slammed both the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas which currently rules the Gaza Strip and Israel in a speech at a Palestinian national conference on Jerusalem in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
Confirming the Islamic movement "was part of the Palestinian people," Abbas nevertheless demanded that Hamas give up control of crossing points into Gaza Strip to the Palestinian Authority (PA) as well as give up its control of salient entirely.
"We are ready to take up the crossings to ease the suffering of our people," Abbas said, referring to the Israeli closure on the Strip.
"If Hamas gives up its control on Gaza, it will embarrass Israel which takes the absence of the PA as a pretext to keep the crossings closed," Abbas said.
He also called on Gaza militant groups to stop firing rockets into southern Israel.
"Stop! Don't give Israel excuses," Abbas said.
"We should stop giving Israel the pretexts so that Israel will be exposed to the entire world to know that Israel wants to punish the people for no reason," he said.
Abbas called on Israel to end the siege imposed on Gaza.
"The long Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip," said Abbas, "has caused a popular explosion. When you deny the people fuel, medicine and all their basic needs, what should they do? The people have no choice but to explode."
The Palestinian leader also rejected the presence of Jewish settlements in the occupied territories, including East Jerusalem.
"The (Jewish) settlements, particularly what is built in Jerusalem, are illegal and we will never accept them," he said.
Abbas accused Israel of seeking to change facts on the ground in East Jerusalem to preempt permanent status talks with Israel that include negotiations over the eastern section of the city occupied in 1967.
"Whatever they do in Jerusalem and no matter what they do to change its structure, occupied Jerusalem will remain the capital of the state of Palestine and we will never give it up," he added.
If today Ramallah is serving as the capital of the Palestinian Authority, "it is nevertheless temporary because the capital is Jerusalem," Abbas said.
Abbas is expected to meet Israeli Premier Ehud Olmert in Jerusalem on Sunday to discuss the situation in Gaza though Palestinian officials have not yet confirmed the meeting, which will be the first in two weeks after Israel intensified its military acts in both Gaza and the West Bank.