Abbas and Gal-On 370.
(photo credit: reuters)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday that he remained
committed to the two-state solution despite the current crisis in the peace
Abbas told a visiting Meretz delegation headed by MK Zehava
Gal-On that he would proceed with plans to ask the UN General Assembly next
month to recognize a Palestinian state. Abbas said that his new statehood bid
was not an alternative to the peace talks, but was intended to safeguard the
A Meretz spokeswoman quoted Abbas as saying during the
60-minute meeting in his Ramallah office: “We want to live peacefully next to
Israel. The decision to go to the UN is not an alternative to the peace
negotiations, but an option for preserving the two-state
During the meeting, Gal- On expressed reservations about
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman’s recent letter to Quartet representatives. In
the letter, Liberman called for replacing Abbas through new
Gal-On described the letter as “embarrassing,” adding that the
foreign minister was “acting cynically for internal motives.”
complained that Liberman has been inciting against him for the past two
“Now he is waging a daily campaign against me,” the PA president
told the Meretz delegation. “He and the government he belongs to are doing
everything they can to eliminate the peace process.”
Abbas was originally
expected to hold a joint press conference with the Meretz leader following the
meeting. However, Gal-On later appeared before journalists together with chief
PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat.
PA officials did not offer any explanation as
to why Abbas did not participate in the press conference.
spokeswoman said the delegation members were made to understand over the weekend
that Abbas and Gal-On would hold a joint press conference in
Erekat said that Abbas agreed to meet with the Israeli
delegation because of Meretz’s “encouraging positions” toward the Palestinian
cause. He pointed out that the Meretz visitors voiced strong opposition to
Liberman’s “racist” campaign against Abbas.
A spokesman for Liberman
responded to a comment Erekat made at the press conference that the foreign
minister would have accused Mother Teresa of “diplomatic terrorism” had she
headed the PA, saying “the last thing one can say about Abbas is that he
resembles Mother Teresa.”
This reference, the spokesman said, certainly
has Mother Teresa – an Indian Catholic nun noted for her work with the poor –
“turning in her grave.”
As opposed to Abbas, Liberman’s spokesman said,
Mother Teresa “never glorified and funded terrorists.
Abu Mazen [Abbas]
devotes all his time as PA chairman to diplomatic terror against Israel, and to
ensuring the failure of any chance for an agreement between Israel and the
Palestinians.”Herb Keinon contributed to this report.