Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas addresses the special meeting of Human Rights Council at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland October 28, 2015.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has unequivocally rejected the use of violent struggle against Israel to end the Israeli "occupation," and stated that a Palestinian state would be established only by diplomatic means.
In an interview with the Kuwaiti Scoop TV channel conducted on Sunday at his office in Ramallah, Abbas said: "We are now engaging in a popular uprising that includes massive protests and demonstrations against the occupation. I am interested in starting direct negotiations with any Israeli figure – be it an Israeli MK, Ashkenazi Jew or Sephardic Jew."
"In 2000-2005 we engaged in a violent struggle. It ruined the country and we did not achieve anything; to the contrary, international public opinion sided with Israel, which enjoyed worldwide legitimacy to attack Palestinians," Abbas said.
"I will not enter a violent struggle. I will not ruin my people and my country. I will fight in the political field to reach my goal. I will never permit violent struggle against Israel and I am determined to prevent anyone from using weapons."
Regarding international support for the Palestinian struggle, the PA president said: "The world has started changing, and this change is manifested in the European opposition to Israeli settlements and in the labeling of Israeli products from the West Bank. Even the US cannot say it supports the settlements."
Another part of the changing international attitude toward the Palestinian issue, according to Abbas, is the way he is received by world leaders in his visits abroad. "I went to Japan, which does not officially recognize Palestine. However, during my visit, I met with the emperor, the honor guard greeted me and the Palestinian anthem was played alongside the Japanese anthem. I was received as a head of state."
"Hence, I think that we would not be able to liberate Palestine tomorrow or the day after, but we will be able to do so eventually if the state is built gradually, brick after brick."
Speaking about the US' role in Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, Abbas criticized US Secretary of State John Kerry for not being decisive. "In my latest meeting with Kerry, I raised three issues: Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, the French offer to hold an international peace conference and the Palestinian plan to turn to the UN Security Council to end Israeli occupation. Kerry told me he would look into the issues, but he has not given me an answer."
As opposed to his criticism for Kerry, Abbas spoke warmly of Russia: "Russia is a dear friend to us and it fully supports the Palestinian issue."
"The current international framework formed to resolve the conflict, which is the Quartet, no longer functions since the US has canceled its meeting. I want another mechanism, similar to the P5+1, which will include Arab states such as Jordan, Egypt and I also want Japan, China, South Africa, France and Germany," he said.
Expressing his disappointment with both Russia and the US for their failure to formulate an agreed mechanism to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Abbas stated: "The Russians and Americans have agreed on a solution to the conflicts in Libya and Syria and reached a nuclear deal with Iran, so why can't they agree on a mechanism to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?"
Toward the end of the interview, Abbas launched an unprecedented attack against Iran: "There are no official relations between us and Iran. There is an embassy and an ambassador, but they don’t have direct contacts with us."
Iran's offer to provide families of Palestinian martyrs with financial rewards demonstrates, according to Abbas, Iran's indirect engagement with the Palestinian Authority.
"Today we released a statement saying that we do not know anything about the Iranian funds and we are not responsible for them. I say to Iranians: 'you want to engage in Palestine? Then you must do so in collaboration with the Palestinian Authority. If we have an embassy in Iran, why does it operate indirectly, through the back door?"
"In the past I visited Iran and met with then-president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He told me: 'I love the Palestinian people.' I told him: 'No, you don’t love them. If you love them, love all Palestinians, not half or a quarter of them.' Iran only loves Hamas and Islamic Jihad."
"Iran has provided Palestine neither support nor military aid since the beginning of the 1979 Revolution. It only provides money and weapons to Hamas. They engage in Palestine because they want to strengthen their presence everywhere."