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Israeli policies will spark new war - Abbas

Written by: Staff

LONDON, Apr 8 (Reuters) Israel's unilateral plan to impose final borders in the West Bank will lead to another war in a decade, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said in an interview published today.

Abbas told Britain's Guardian newspaper that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will jeopardise the prospect of long-term peace if he refuses to negotiate an agreement Palestinians see as just.

''The Israelis say: 'OK, we'll impose a unilateral solution' -- which means that they will postpone, delay ... and they will not solve the problem,'' Abbas said in Gaza City in an interview with several European and North American newspapers.

''After 10 years our sons will feel it is unfair and they will return back to the struggle,'' he added.

Olmert, who won a March 28 election on a pledge to remove many Jewish settlements and set a border unilaterally with the Palestinians, has said Israel favoured peace negotiations to end decades of conflict.

But in the continued absence of talks -- especially with Hamas now in power -- Olmert has vowed to draw Israel's frontier by 2010 by removing isolated settlements in the occupied West Bank and expanding bigger ones.

Palestinians say Olmert's plan will deny them a viable state and annex land Israel occupied in the 1967 Middle East war.

Abbas said any such Israeli demarcation of borders in the West Bank will only prolong the Palestinian struggle.

''They want our state within the wall without negotiations ... Nobody will accept it. The struggle will continue,'' Abbas said.

Hamas, a fundamentalist Islamic organisation that has carried out many suicide bombings in Israel, won a sweeping victory in Palestinian parliamentary elections in January but did not formally take over the government until last week.

There have been tensions between Hamas and Abbas's long-dominant Fatah movement, which was trounced by the militant group in the polls.

Haniyeh, a senior Hamas leader, has been angered by Abbas's decisions this week to assume control of Gaza's border crossings and make a high-level security appointment.

Abbas and Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh held late night talks yesterday to discuss a row over government powers.

The Fatah and Hamas leaders said no agreement was reached and that a committee had been formed to find a solution.

Reuters OM VP0500

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