Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas (L) and Economy Minister Naftali Bennett.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Bayit Yehudi leader and Economy Minister Naftali Bennett played down Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas's threats that he would dissolve the Palestinian Authority if peace talks with Israel broke down, saying Tuesday that this was the seventh time that the Palestinian leader had made these threats.
"We hear again and again the recycling of the same threat , that if we don't advance (with the peace process) and if we don't give him everything that he wants he will Ov vey for us! dissolve the PA," Bennett said at The Ramle Conference.
"I suggest to Abu Mazen: If you're going to shoot, then shoot, don't talk. The state of Israel is stronger than Abu Mazen's threats," Bennett said.
Bennett queried what Abbas was threatening with his dissolution threat. "The dissolution of an authority that incites terror?" the Bayit Yehudi leader suggested.
"The dissolution of an authority that breaches the Oslo Accords, the dissolution of the authority who pays regular stipends to murderers of Jews?" Bennett offered further.
"And what exactly is Abu Mazen (Abbas) telling us? That if we don't release murdering terrorists, if we don't divide Jerusalem and if we don't retreat, he will committ suicide. Friends, he must improve the incentive for us because something is not working," Bennett said.
"I suggest to Abu Mazen: If you're going to shoot, then shoot, don't talk. The state of Israel is stronger than Abu Mazen's threats," he said.
On Sunday, Bennett made similar statements about Abbas's dissolution threats.
“If he wants to go, we won’t stop him,” the minister said. “The Jewish people do not negotiate with a gun held against their temple.” Abbas prepared to meet Netanyahu 'anytime, any place'
Abbas on Tuesday expressed his willingness to meet with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu "at anytime, in any place."
Israel Radio quoted the PA president as telling a group of Israeli reporters that he was prepared to extend peace talks with Israel beyond the April 29 deadline for negotiations in the event that Israel freezes construction in the settlements for a period of three months.
He said that during this three month period he was prepared to negotiate with Israel on the borders of a future Palestinian state.
In addition, Abbas conditioned the continuation of negotiations on Israel releasing the last batch of Palestinian security prisoners from Israeli jails, a release that was originally supposed to have occurred last month. Abbas said that Israel was obligated to fulfill the release in exchange for the PA having held back on plans to seek recognition in international organizations.
Abbas said that Israel would have to assume authority over the Palestinians if it were to continue its current policy toward the Palestinian Authority.
Abbas seemed to be reiterating his reported threat to dissolve the Palestinian Authority in the event that peace talks fail, even as chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat was quoted Tuesday as saying that the PA leadership had no intention of dismantling the Ramallah government.
The comments came as Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams were meeting in Jerusalem Tuesday afternoon in an effort to come up with a package that would extend the negotiations beyond next week's deadline.