Israel has effectively abrogated the Oslo Accords and other agreements that were
signed with the PLO since 1993, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas
was quoted as saying on Monday.
Abbas’s remarks were reportedly made
during the recent Arab summit in Libya.
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The PA, meanwhile, reaffirmed its
opposition to a temporary freeze of settlement construction and rejected the
idea of US assurances to Israel.
Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat quoted
Abbas as telling Arab leaders attending the summit that Israel has also scrapped
the PA’s political, legal, functional and security authorities in the West Bank
and the Gaza Strip.
“President Abbas stressed to the Arab leaders that
Israel has effectively cancelled the Oslo Accords and other agreements signed
with the PLO,” Erekat told Agence France-Presse.
Erekat said that Abbas
also made it clear that the first option the Palestinians would consider if the
peace talks fail is seeking US and UN recognition of an independent Palestinian
state on the pre-1967 borders.
Abbas, who met with the foreign ministers
of Spain, France and Finland in Jordan on Monday, briefed them on the outcome of
the Arab League summit in Libya and his position regarding the future of the
Abbas also sought the backing of the three countries for his
intention to unilaterally declare a Palestinian state if the peace process
Following the meeting, Erekat said that Israel alone would be held
responsible for the failure of the peace talks if it continued to insist on
building in the settlements.
He said that the Palestinians were expecting
the US and EU to heighten pressure on Israel to extend the moratorium on
Nabil Shaath, member of the PA delegation to the
peace talks, said on Monday that the PA would not return to the negotiating
table unless Israel extended the freeze. He also said that the Palestinians
would not accept a temporary or partial cessation of settlement construction,
like the 10-month moratorium that expired last month.
“What is needed is
a full cessation of settlement activities and not a temporary one,” Shaath told
reporters in Ramallah. “How can settlement continue on the lands that were
supposed to be traded for peace?” Shaath said that a freeze should also include
He also threatened that the Palestinians would dissolve the PA
and make Israel responsible for the West Bank and Gaza Strip population if the
peace talks failed. This contradicts statements made by Erekat a day earlier.
Erekat was quoted as saying that Abbas had no plans to resign or dismantle the
Shaath said that the Palestinians were not interested in returning to
the cycle of conflict, “although they maintained the legitimate right to resist
The PLO negotiator said that the PA also rejected the
possibility that the US would give Israel assurances in return for freezing
settlement construction for an additional two months.