Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has threatened to dismantle the PA
should US Secretary of State John Kerry fail to “salvage the peace process,” a
senior PA official said Tuesday.
Hussein al-Sheikh, the PA minister for
civilian affairs, said that Abbas has informed Kerry that the PA’s functional
role would end if current efforts to revive the peace process did not
“Israel, as an occupying force, would then have to assume full
responsibility [over the Palestinian population],” Sheikh told the PA’s Voice of
Palestine radio station.
He added that Abbas also informed Kerry that he
agreed to extend the deadline for the secretary of state’s mission until June
20, on condition that Israel releases Palestinian prisoners arrested before the
signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993. Sheikh said the PA rejects the idea of a
gradual release of the prisoners, insisting that they all be freed
Kerry is expected to return to the region next week to resume
his efforts to revive stalled peace talks.
Abbas declared Tuesday that he
was ready to return to the negotiating table as soon as possible in order to
reach a peace agreement with Israel “on the basis of a two-state solution on the
1967 borders.” He spoke during a meeting in Ramallah with the president of
Maldives, Mohammed Waheed Hassan.
Hassan arrived for an official visit to
“Palestine” and is not expected to meet with any Israeli officials.
have affirmed more than once that the Arab and Islamic countries would be happy
and recognize Israel if it withdrew from the occupied territories and a
Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital is established,” Abbas
He added that Kerry was making strenuous efforts and was serious
about reaching a solution.
“The ball is now in the Israeli court,” Abbas
said. “The Palestinian demand is clear and the Americans and Israelis are well
aware of it. The Israelis just have to accept this demand in order for the
negotiations to resume.”