(photo credit: REUTERS)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told a Lebanese TV station on
Monday night that he is prepared to resume peace talks with Israel if the
Americans and Europeans make a good offer to the Palestinians.
“The negotiations are my preferred choice,” Abbas said in an interview with the
Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation.
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“We have received a several offers and
we have studied them and responded to them. But the Israelis didn’t accept these
offers, especially the cessation of construction in the
Abbas said he would not return to the negotiating table
without agreement on terms of reference for the peace process and a freeze of
The Palestinians want Israel to agree in
principle to the pre-1967 lines as the basis for a final
Abbas said that unless these conditions were met, he would go
ahead with his plan to ask the United Nations in September to recognize a
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He also reiterated his opposition to an armed struggle
against Israel, adding that the use of violence has wrecked havoc on the
“We were the ones who launched the armed struggle, and in
1988 we went to negotiations and agreed to abandon violence,” he
Abbas added that 116 countries have promised to recognize the
Palestinian state in September, and expressed hope that US President Barack
Obama would refrain from vetoing the statehood bid in the Security
“Until this moment I still have hope in Obama,” he
Government officials in Jerusalem took note of Abbas’s comments,
but said the problem was that while he says he wants negotiations, he then
restates preconditions – such as a settlement freeze – that preclude those
Furthermore, one official said, Abbas refuses to cancel the
reconciliation pact with Hamas. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has made it
clear that he will not sit down for talks with a PA government that includes
“Abbas says he wants talks, but then doesn’t do anything to make
that happen,” the official said.
Abbas, in his interview, vowed to step
down if the Palestinians ask him to leave. “I promise I won’t stay in power for
one day when the first demonstration against me takes place,” he said.
won’t wait until four or 10 or 20 people go out to say ‘We don’t want Mahmoud
Abbas.’ I will quit before they say that.”
Asked about the
Egyptian-sponsored reconciliation accord between Fatah and Hamas, Abbas stressed
that he had the right to name the prime minister of a new unity
He said that his preferred candidate was the incumbent, Salam
Despite the reconciliation pact, Hamas and Fatah have thus far
failed to reach agreement on the identity of the prime minister of the proposed
Hamas’s refusal to accept Fayyad remains the main
obstacle to the formation of the government, Hamas and Fatah officials said this
“I have the right to name the prime minister and yes, he’s Salam
Fayyad,” Abbas said in the interview. “The new unity government under Fayyad
would not have a political agenda.
“It would be a purely technocratic
government of independent figures.”
Voicing concern over the
international community’s threat to suspend financial aid in protest against the
Hamas-Fatah agreement, Abbas said that the PA was paying monthly salaries to
77,000 civil servants in the Gaza Strip, as well as covering the cost of water,
electricity, fuel, and health and education services.
is continuing to receive funds from Iran, he added.Herb Keinon
contributed to this report.
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