Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday set two conditions for
abandoning his plan to ask the United Nations to recognize a Palestinian state
in September: acceptance of the 1967 lines as the basis for a two-state solution
and a cessation of settlement construction.
“Without this we will
continue going to the UN,” Abbas said.
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He spoke on the eve of a trip to the region by the European Union’s foreign
policy chief Catherine Ashton, a last-minute bid to bring Palestinians back to
the negotiating table.
“Following the recent tragic events in Israel and
Gaza, it is more important than ever that the parties return to the negotiating
table,” Ashton said. “It is only through negotiations – and not violence – that
the root causes of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be
“The EU continues to make every effort to make a renewal of
negotiations possible. That is why I am traveling to the region this weekend,”
On Sunday, Ashton will meet with Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu. She also plans to met with Abbas before heading to Jordan for talks
on the peace process with King Abdullah II and Foreign Minister Nasser
Separately on Sunday, Netanyahu will meet with Norwegian Foreign
Minister Jonas Gahr Store.
Talks between Israel and the Palestinians have
been stalled for almost a year. The Palestinians have insisted they will return
to the negotiating table only if Israel meets their terms.
night, an Israeli official told The Jerusalem Post that Abbas had made a mistake
turning to the UN and setting conditions on the renewal of talks.
to for Palestinian membership at the UN “won’t bring peace or statehood,” the
“It’s a pity, that Abu Mazen [Abbas] has not put the same
effort into direct negotiations as he has into his UN strategy,” the official
said. Had he done so, Abbas would have been more likely to achieve results, the
Addressing Muslim religious leaders in Ramallah on
Saturday, Abbas said the statehood bid was not aimed at “isolating” Israel or
clashing with the US.
“We want to fulfill our dream of achieving official
recognition of our Palestinian state with full sovereignty over the territories
occupied in 1967 and a full membership in the UN,” he said.
that the statehood bid would lay the foundations for peace, justice and
coexistence, “instead of repression and aggression.”
The Palestinians, he
added, “want to put an end to the conflict and the occupation, which is the
longest in modern history.”
He accused Israel of turning the West Bank
into isolated cantons, “destroying any dream of a contiguous and independent
Abbas said that failed peace talks and the ongoing
construction in east Jerusalem were the main reason behind the PA’s decision to
go to the UN next month.
He reiterated his refusal to recognize Israel as
a Jewish state.
“The Quartet can’t impose on us to recognize the nature
of the State of Israel,” Abbas said.
“This is none of our
Why are we alone being asked to say that Israel is a Jewish or
Hebrew state? We don’t accept these things.”
Foreign Minister Avigdor
Lieberman said Abbas’s refusal to recognize the Jewish nature of the State of
Israel showed that his ultimate goal was to replace the Israeli state with a
This, Lieberman said, was the true nature of Abbas’s
unilateral push for statehood.
“The Palestinians’ real intention is not
to create a state that would live in peace side by side with Israel, but rather
the creation of a state that is free of Jews in Judea and Samaria, and a hostile
takeover from within of the State of Israel,” the foreign minister said. “This
is also the reason that Abbas and his colleagues are not interested in
negotiating with Israel, and have preferred unilateral steps.”
called on the international community to make it clear to Abbas that the only
path to Palestinian statehood was to stop trying to destroy the only Jewish
state in the world.
Separately, the US Consulate in Jerusalem denied that
Consul- General Daniel Rubenstein had threatened “punitive measures” if the
Palestinians went ahead with plans to upgrade their status at the UN.
negotiator Saeb Erekat said last Friday that the consul made the threat during a
meeting with him.
The consulate, in a statement, said Erekat’s account of
the meeting in Jericho was “not an accurate portrayal of the US position.”
Washington’s position was to encourage a return to negotiations with Israel, the
“Initiatives through the UN will not bring about the
twostate solution and enduring peace, which both the parties and the US seek,” a
spokeswoman for the consulate was quoted as saying by the Maan news
She said that the US administration continued to oppose
initiatives by the Palestinians in the UN because “there is no substitute for
serious and substantive negotiations between the parties, and that remains our
Erekat said after the meeting with Rubenstein that the consul
threatened that the US would cut off aid to the Palestinians if they insisted on
going to the UN.
On Saturday, Erekat repeated his claim, adding that the
Americans had threatened to veto the PA statehood bid in the Security
Erekat stressed that the Palestinians were nevertheless keen on
avoiding confrontation with the US administration over the statehood
He said that the Palestinians were going to the UN after having
conducted “thorough” consultations with experts and politicians, as well as Arab
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