PA President Mahmoud Abbas 390 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas renewed his threat on Sunday to
unilaterally seek UN recognition of a Palestinian state if Israel did not accept
his conditions for resuming the peace process.
Abbas made the threat
during a meeting in his office in Ramallah with an Israeli delegation headed by
former minister and MK Yossi Beilin (Meretz).
Abbas told the delegation
that the letter which he plans to send to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is
aimed at breaking the stalemate in the peace process.
will wait for the Israeli reply before deciding on their next options, Abbas
He added that there would be no resumption of the peace talks
unless Israel halted settlement activities in the West Bank and east Jerusalem,
accepted the June 4, 1967 lines as the future borders of a Palestinian state and
released Palestinian prisoners.
Abbas said that these demands would be
included in his letter, which will be delivered to Netanyahu next week.
PA delegation headed by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad is expected to meet
Netanyahu either next Tuesday or Wednesday in Jerusalem to hand him the
The Israeli delegation that met Abbas Sunday included former IDF
Chief of Staff Amnon Lipkin Shahak and Meretz leader Zehava Gal- On, and
expressed its annoyance with the current stalemate in the peace process, the
PA’s Wafa news agency reported.
The agency said that Beilin and the
delegation urged Abbas to address the Israeli public directly to explain the
Palestinian position regarding the peace process and voice the Palestinians’
desire to achieve peace.
The Israeli government position on the
diplomatic process has been consistent for months: an immediate start to
negotiations without pre-conditions. Amos Gilad, head of the Defense Ministry’s
Diplomatic-Security bureau, reiterated the government’s position that a peace
agreement can only come through negotiations, not unilateral actions. In an
Israel Radio interview Sunday he said that Israel’s agreements with Egypt and
Jordan, as well as its interim accords with the Palestinians, were only reached
“There is no alternative to negotiation, there is
no other way,” he said, adding that a Palestinian return to the UN would not
produce any result.
Gilad also said there was no way of implementing an
agreement without the PA regaining control of Gaza.
Hamas controls the
“Our position is to enter negotiations, because that is the only
way to reach peace, but it does not mean we will give up security demands that
are critical for us,” he said.
A few days after Fayyad delivers the
Palestinian letter to Israel, Israeli negotiator Yitzhak Molcho is expected to
bring Israel’s response to the Palestinians.
Israel’s letter is expected
to include the following points: Israel is prepared for peace talks with the
Palestinians where all the core issues will be on the agenda; Israel places no
pre-conditions whatsoever on entering the talks; an agreement reached must
contain Palestinian recognition of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish
people, and include effective security arrangements.
meeting and the anticipated exchange of letters has breathed some life into a
diplomatic process that has been stagnant since Israeli and Palestinian
officials met last in Jordan on January 25.
The recent activity has
overshadowed a scheduled meeting this Wednesday in Washington of the Quartet
principals – US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, EU foreign policy chief
Catherine Ashton, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and UN
Secretary-General Ban Kimoon.