Netanyahu and Abbas.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas suggested that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's call for him to visit the Knesset in his speech to the UN General Assembly on Thursday was a "scheme" meant to avoid a summit meeting between the leaders.
In an interview to Palestinian newspaper Al-Ayyam published Sunday, Abbas claimed that Netanyahu had been the one to first turn to Russia to set up such a summit, but that he had reneged once the PA president agreed to attend a Moscow meeting.
"Netanyahu asked of Russia that we both be allowed to meet in Moscow, however, afterward he tried to say that the Palestinians were busy and requesting a postponement," he claimed. "When the Russians were informed that the Palestinians in fact were not busy, and that they were prepared to attend a summit in Moscow, [the Israelis] requested to postpone the meeting," Abbas said. "So, the request for a summit came from them, as did the rejecting of the summit."
Abbas stated that while Netanyahu refuses to begin negotiations, he suggests that the PA president visit the Knesset or that he himself visit Ramallah. "Why would I come to the Knesset? To deliver a speech? We were supposed to sit together. Each time we said that if there was a meeting, then we must prepare for it. We said this multiple times to many of Netanyahu's aides. We are prepared today, tomorrow and the next day for a bilateral meeting, or one with a third party present in Egypt, or Russia or any other country."
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the UN General Assembly
Abbas repeated his warning that if there will not be a two-state solution, then the alternative is an "Apartheid" state. "The lack of a two-state solution leaves only one other option - one state with two regimes: an Apartheid regime for Palestinians and another regime for Israelis."
The PA president accused the Americans of placing obstacles in the way of the peace summit which the French have tried to arrange.
"The Americans, as Secretary of State John Kerry informed us, expressed support for the French initiative. In other words, the Americans are not opposed," he said in the interview. "However, at the same time, they are placing obstacles to an international conference because they understand that if they don't torpedo it, then such a conference will succeed in bringing good results."
Abbas denounced what he said were Israel's attempts to use the Arab Peace Initiative to bring about an agreement with the Palestinians after normalization of ties between the Arab states and Israel.
"The Arab world is weak and Israel is trying to take advantage of this," he said. "I'm certain that the Arab states will not allow the Arab Initiative flipped on its head. Israel will try to do this, with American help, but we are sure that it will not come to fruition."
Abbas added that the Arab world's weakness "leaves us alone to deal with American pressure. We are capable of standing up to this pressure and will not agree to any deal that hurts our rights or the national Palestinian and Arab principles. It may be that we are weak, but our rights are strong - and we will not give up on them."
In an additional interview to Lebanon's Al-Mayadeen
, Abbas stated that "there is no return from submitting a suit against Israel at the International Criminal Court at the Hague, since neither the UN Security Council nor the world powers have presented a solution which is fair to the Palestinians."
He wondered why the UN is not doing more to protect Palestinians. "We asked for international protection two years ago, so why aren't they doing it," he said.