|Abbas at PLO meeting in West Bank 370.(Photo by: REUTERS/Mohamad Torokma)|
Abbas and Mashaal agree on peaceful intifada
By KHALED ABU TOAMEH
PA president says he hopes US would play larger role in peace talks, adds Washington can't ignore UN upgrade of PA status.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said over the weekend that he was
in favor of a peaceful and popular resistance and that he and Hamas leader
Khaled Mashaal have reached agreement on the need for a peaceful
The two met in Cairo during a recent conference of Islamic
Speaking during an interview with Al-Arabiya TV, Abbas said
that he fully supported demonstrations against the security barrier and
settlements, as well as Palestinian attempts to establish outposts in the West
Bank, but stressed his opposition to violent measures.
is banned,” he stressed. “This is a law and it is forbidden. It is also
forbidden in the Gaza Strip.”
Abbas said that even Iranian President
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad supported his call for peaceful protests.
president said that the PA security forces in the West Bank have been arresting
Palestinians who smuggle weapons from Israel.
“They smuggle weapons from
Israel, including M-16 rifles and explosives,” he claimed. “These weapons could
destroy my country. What am I going to do with all these Israeli weapons?”
Turning to the prospect of negotiations with Israel, Abbas said that he did not
expect a new government to change Jerusalem’s policy toward the peace
Abbas said he still did not know when US President Barack Obama
would visit the region.
However, Obama’s visit to the region was a
“significant indication that could revive the peace process, which has been
completely frozen over the past four years,” he said.
The PA president
said that the US would not be able to ignore the recent UN vote in favor of
upgrading the Palestinians’ status to non-member state.
say now that it does not recognize the UN vote,” Abbas said.
Palestinians, he added, do not expect any change in the Israeli government’s
policy in wake of last month’s general elections.
Abbas said that the
Arab Spring has distracted attention from the Palestinian issue. Nevertheless he
said, there was still a chance to achieve peace in the Middle
Commenting on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s decision to
entrust MK Tzipi Livni, head of The Tzipi Livni Party, with the task of
negotiating with the Palestinians, Abbas said: “The question is whether he
[Netanyahu] personally believes in the peace process? I hope that things have
changed now. I also hope that the US will play a larger role than
Abbas claimed that Netanyahu, unlike his predecessor, former
prime minister Ehud Olmert, had refused over the past four years to discuss
final-status issues with the Palestinians.
Abbas said he dispatched a
Palestinian delegation to Washington to exchange views with US administration
officials ahead of Obama’s planned visit to the region. He said the delegation
would hold talks in Washington about the settlements and about Palestinian
prisoners held in Israeli jails.
Abbas said the Palestinians wanted the
Americans to know that these were their demands for the resumption of the peace
talks with Israel.