Source: The Washington Post
Wire Service: AP
On January 16, 2005 the Associated Press reported, "Mahmoud Abbas extended his hand in peace to Israel as he was sworn in as the new Palestinian leader Saturday, but the Israeli army killed eight Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and 46 election officials resigned over alleged ballot irregularities, crushing optimism for an early resumption of the peace process. The series of events came a day after Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, reversing course, cut all ties with Abbas until he reined in Palestinian militants, who killed six Israelis during an attack at a Gaza cargo crossing last week. The resignations of the election officials appeared to be an attempt to reduce the legitimacy of Abbas' landslide victory in the Jan. 9 vote to replace Yasser Arafat, who died in November. In his inaugural speech, Abbas condemned violence, urged an immediate cease-fire and said he was extending Israel his hand in peace."