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Landslide Abbas victory an historic Palestinian opportunity

While a landslide election victory has given Mahmoud Abbas a mandate to resume peace talks with Israel, it has left the Palestinian leader with the tough task of reining in powerful armed groups without losing their backing.
After exit polls indicated Abbas won two-thirds of the vote in yesterday's presidential election, Israel's vice premier, Ehud Olmert, said a Palestinian crackdown on militants is a precondition for any peace steps, including consulting with the Palestinians on a planned withdrawal from the Gaza Strip this summer.

In his acceptance speech, Abbas said he faces a difficult mission, but he reiterated that he would not go after militants. Instead, he said, he wants to 'give our fugitives a life of dignity,' referring to those wanted by Israel.

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