Interim Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said Friday that if he wins Sunday's election for the head of the Palestinian Authority, he will ask Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia to stay on in his post.
Abbas, the overwhelming front-runner in the race, also said he was committed to unifying the various Palestinian security services, a key Israeli demand to move forward with the U.S.-backed "road map" peace plan.
"We believe that the unification of security services is necessary," he said.
Abbas promised to tackle illegal weapons, though he declined to call for a crack down on militant groups — another Israeli demand.
"When I see you in the street carrying a handgun or a machine gun I want to ask if this machine gun is legitimate, if it is licensed." he said. "If it is not, you will be punished according to the law."
"There is no justification for this operation, but there are a lot of reasons behind it," Abbas said.
Abbas' press conference was the last official campaign event before presidential elections on Sunday. Public opinion polls gave him an overwhelming lead over his closest rival.
In other developments:
The attack by militants from the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, a violent offshoot of Abbas' own Fatah movement, cast doubt on Abbas ability to prevent militant violence, a key Israeli demand to move forward with the U.S.-backed "road map" peace plan.
Abbas had been tentatively scheduled to travel to Jerusalem to pray at al-Aqsa mosque, hold a rally and tour the Old City. A senior official with his campaign said Israel wanted to give Abbas a large security detail to protect him from Jewish extremists. Abbas decided that being surrounded by Israeli security would have been embarrassing, the official said.