Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas announced on Saturday that when a Palestinian state is established, it will have no Israelis in it.
“We have frankly said, and always will say: If there is an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, we won’t agree to the presence of one Israeli in it,” Abbas told reporters in Ramallah.
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He was commenting on unconfirmed reports suggesting that the PA leadership might agree to the presence of the IDF in the West Bank after the establishment of a Palestinian state.
“We are ready to have peace on the basis of international legitimacy and the road map, which we have accepted, as well as the Arab Peace Initiative,” Abbas said. “But when a Palestinian state is established, it would have no Israeli presence in it.”
The PA president criticized Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and accused him of placing obstacles on the road to peace.
“He who prefers settlements over peace is responsible for the obstacles to peace,” he added.
“If he really was interested in peace, he would have at least preferred peace to settlements.”
Abbas accused the Israeli government of “deception” with the purpose of
blaming the Palestinians for the current impasse in the peace talks. He
also criticized the US administration for failing to put pressure on
Israel to stop the construction in the settlements and east Jerusalem.
“The US administration has tried to stop the settlements, but Netanyahu
refused,” he said. “We know that there’s a clear American position, but
these days we don’t hear it any more. We hope we will hear it in the
Abbas said that the PA has presented in writing to the US its position
regarding all the core issues, but has still not heard Israel’s reply.
“All the final-status issues must be solved according to international
resolutions,” he said. “All these issues will be resolved at the
negotiating table, and this includes the issue of the refugees, which
Israel tried to get rid of, but to no avail.”
On Friday night, Abbas met in Bethlehem with members of the tiny
Christian community in the Gaza Strip who received permission from
Israel to travel to the West Bank for Christmas.
Abbas expressed hope that his Fatah faction and Hamas would be able to
resolve their differences so that the Gaza Strip would be part of the
future Palestinian state. He also voiced hope that he would be able to
travel to the Gaza Strip in the near future.
Abbas hailed Bolivia, Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil and Ecuador, which have
recognized a Palestinian state with the 1967 borders. He said that the
Palestinians were now hoping that other countries, especially the EU,
Russia, Canada, the US and Japan, would follow suit and declare their
recognition of a Palestinian state.
“The whole world is now with us,” Abbas said. “These countries have
recognized us because they love peace and want to support peace.”