Edelstein: Abbas looking for excuses not to talk

Minister for public diplomacy and Diaspora affairs tells 'Post' PA president "not ready to recognize our right to exist."

Yuli Edelstein 311 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem / The Jerusalem Post)
Yuli Edelstein 311
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem / The Jerusalem Post)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is looking for any excuse to avoid holding negotiations with Israel, charged Israel’s Minister for Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs, Yuli Edelstein (Likud).
He spoke with The Jerusalem Post on Sunday in New York where he had been to help Israel lobby against Palestinian unilateral moves at the United Nations.
“His [Abbas’] desperate desire to somehow get away from negotiations just shows once again that he is not ready to recognize the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people,” said Edelstein. “He is not ready to recognize our right to exist, and definitely is not ready – and capable – of making any compromises.
“That is why he is looking for every possible pretext to avoid sitting down with Prime Minister Netanyahu and starting talks,” Edelstein continued.
Last Friday, Edelstein said, he had gone into the room of the UN General Assembly debate to hear Abbas make is appeal to the international community for international statehood.
But shortly into the speech, he got so upset by Abbas’ words that he walked out.
“I was naively hoping that there would be some new messages, some window of opportunity for future negotiations,” said Edelstein. “I was actually taking notes,” but, he added, after “three or four minutes, I realized that the main message was that that Israeli soldiers deliberately killed Palestinian children and that settlers are malicious and imported by the Israeli government in order to chase the Palestinians.”
“I had heard enough, and I had to leave the hall,” he continued. “The spirit of Abu Mazen’s [Abbas] speech is like going back in a time machine some 30 years ago. It was like hearing all the Palestinian propaganda of the 70s.”
Edelstein added that he did not believe that Abbas was in the proper state of mind to negotiate, particularly in light of comments that he had made regarding possibly canceling the 1993 Oslo Accord with Israel.
“I would not mind changing some things in the Olso [Accord], I was never a great supporter of it,” he said.
As he prepared to head back to Israel, he said that it appeared as if the Palestinian unilateral bid for statehood at the United Nations had ended in failure.
“I think that it is quite clear that we gained enough international support,” he said. “Many prominent world leaders said loud and clear to the Palestinians that the road to peace goes through Ramallah and Jerusalem – and not through New York and the United Nations,” Edelstein said.
“That was exactly our message,” he added.