“Throughout my life I gave everything I could so that the dignity of the [Palestinian] people should be preserved,” said Abbas in his Muqata speech, adding that it was time “for the world to put an end to the [Palestinians’] suffering.”

Abbas stressed that despite efforts by fellow Fatah officials to dissuade him, “the decision is neither reversible nor debatable.”

Earlier Thursday, a senior Fatah official was quoted by Israel Radio as saying that if Abbas withdraws from the upcoming presidential elections, the continued existence of the Palestinian Authority would become unnecessary.