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Diplomacy & Politics
KHALED ABU TOAMEH \
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas..
(photo credit:REUTERS/ISSAM RIMAWI/POOL)
US Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts to achieve an Israeli-Palestinian framework agreement have failed so far, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Friday.Abbas was speaking to reporters in Paris after meeting with French President François Hollande.Kerry was exerting heavy pressure on Abbas to accept his proposals for a framework agreement, a PA official in Ramallah said over the weekend.The meetings between Kerry and Abbas in Paris last week were “negative,” the official said. Abbas met with Kerry on Wednesday and Thursday.“Kerry’s proposals sound more like Israeli ideas,” the official told The Jerusalem Post.“He continues to insist on Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and wants the Palestinians to agree to the presence of settlement blocs in the West Bank. The gap between Israel and the Palestinians remains very wide.”Abbas said that he discussed Kerry’s efforts to narrow the gap between Israel and the Palestinians during his meeting with Hollande, “I informed President Hollande that the discussions were continuing and that the Americans were still making efforts to set ideas needed for the peace process.”“Until now, they [the Americans] have failed, although they are very serious in their endeavor,” he said.Abbas hailed the French and European position regarding the boycott of settlement products. He also praised France for voting in favor of granting the Palestinians the status of non-member observer in the UN in 2011. “We hope the day would come when France would recognize a Palestinian state,” he said.Deputy PA Prime Minister Ziad Abu Amr was quoted Saturday as saying that Kerry was proposing a framework agreement that would see Palestinians and Israelis negotiate for another five years. He said that the Palestinians reject the idea of negotiating with Israel for several more years.Abu Amr warned against accepting any agreement that would serve as an alternative to UN resolutions pertaining to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.He said that the PA leadership has agreed to the deployment of a third party along the border between the West Bank and Jordan, while allowing Israel to maintain its presence there for three to five years only. “After that, we won’t allow any Israeli presence on Palestinian territories,” Abu Amr said.“The gap between the Israelis and Palestinians is wide and unbridgeable. The Palestinian and American positions are incompatible,” he said.Meanwhile, Nabil Amr, a senior PLO official, said he has good reason to believe that the PA leadership was inclined to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.He said that Abbas was relying on the US to come up with a “creative” solution to the issue.Amr told the Ramallah- based Wattan TV station that solving the issue of Israel’s Jewishness was possible through an American-European formula.But another senior PLO official, Abbas Zaki, responded by saying that the Palestinians would never recognize Israel as a Jewish state, regardless of the nature of any formula presented to them.“Recognizing Israel as a Jewish state is tantamount to a curse on our martyrs and Palestinian history,” Zaki said.
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