"There will be no Israeli-Palestinian peace treaty until the occupation of Jerusalem ends. We are determined to safeguard the Aksa Mosque and Jerusalem," Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said in a speech in Ramallah Sunday evening.
Abbas also said he instructed the Palestinian envoy at the United Nations' Human Rights Council in Geneva to request an urgent meeting in order to discuss the Goldstone report, "so that those responsible for crimes against the Palestinian people during the barbaric Israeli operation in the Gaza Strip, when Israel destroyed Gaza, its mosques, its hospitals and its homes, can be brought to justice."
Abbas also mentioned the stumbling reconciliation talks with Hamas, which ground to a halt after Hamas accused Abbas for succumbing to Israeli and US pressure in his decision to defer UNHCR discussion of the Goldstone report. "We are working to bring to an end the intra-Palestinian rift and to sign a reconciliation treaty," he said, "but we believe this crisis can be solved by going to the ballots."
Abbas rejected Hamas accusations, saying that the suggestion to defer discussion of the Goldstone Report was not an initiative of the Palestinians but only happened due to the "opposition of several powerful countries."
Abbas said the PA was willing to do everything necessary in order to have the recommendations of the Goldstone Committee adopted. He denied any allegations that the PA succumbed to external pressures regarding deferral of discussion over the report. He accused Hamas of "exposing its true intentions - to hurt the efforts for national Palestinian reconciliation."
The PA president said the authority will fulfill all recommendations of an investigative committee established to figure out the circumstances leading to the deferral of the discussion. "We will follow the committee's recommendations. We have the courage to take responsibility if [the committee] finds us in the wrong," he said.