Abbas at Arab League summit.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday accused Israel of working to foil US efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East. He also accused Israel of seeking to "perpetuate its occupation."
Abbas, who was addressing a meeting of Arab heads of state in Kuwait, reiterated his refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state and said that the Palestinians want an independent state on "all the territories that were occupied in 1967." He said that such a state should have full control on the ground, airspace, borders, water and natural resources.
In his speech, Abbas called for a just and agreed solution to the issue of Palestinian refugees.
Referring to US Secretary of State John Kerry's proposed framework agreement between the Palestinians and Israel, Abbas said the Palestinians don't need new agreements that would be "buried" by Israel through reservations and pre-conditions.
Abbas claimed that the Israeli government was now trying to avoid implementing understandings with the US to release the fourth batch of Palestinian prisoners, slated for the end of this month.
Abbas told the Arab summit that Israel was trying to "divide" the Aksa Mosque between Muslims and Jews as is the case with the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron. He said that the Palestinians were strongly opposed to any attempt to divide the holy site. He also accused Israel of stepping up its campaign to "scrap the Arab, Islamic and Christian identity of Jerusalem."
The PA government in the West Bank on Tuesday accused the Israeli government of "political blackmail" with regards to the release of the fourth batch of prisoners. The government said it was opposed to any attempt to establish a linkage between the release of the prisoners and the peace talks with Israel - a reference to reports that Israel was conditioning the release of the prisoners on Palestinian agreement to extend the negotiations beyond April.
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