Abbas: Failure of talks could lead to popular uprising

PA president says understanding reached during Bush era that Israel would recognize Palestinian state on '67 borders with e. J'lem as capital.

January 22, 2011 19:38
2 minute read.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas

Abbas 311 AP. (photo credit: AP)


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The failure of the peace process could lead to a popular uprising or a revolution, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Friday.

However, he ruled out a military confrontation with Israel.

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Abbas is scheduled to meet in Cairo on Monday with President Hosni Mubarak to discuss the latest developments surrounding the stalled peace process.

Abbas is also expected to brief Mubarak on the PA’s efforts to seek a UN Security Council resolution condemning construction in the settlements.

Separately, White House senior adviser Dennis Ross and US Middle East envoy George Mitchell’s top aide David Hale met with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Friday.

The Prime Minister’s Office did not release a statement regarding the meeting, which was expected to deal in part with the preservation of Israel’s qualitative military edge after any future agreement with the Palestinians.

According to the State Department, Hale had been expected to meet with chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat in Jordan on Saturday.

On Friday, Abbas told Al- Jazeera that if the peace process fails, “it will have serious repercussions” for the entire region.

He also ruled out the possibility that the Palestinians would unilaterally declare the establishment of a state.

Abbas said that the Palestinians and Israelis had reached understandings during the era of US president George W. Bush that Israel would recognize a Palestinian state on the pre-1967 borders and that east Jerusalem would become its capital.

The Israeli government had avoided the US president’s attempt to implement those understandings, Abbas said.

He said that he had rejected an offer to conduct secret negotiations with Defense Minister Ehud Barak. He added that he rejected the offer because it did not include Israeli recognition of the June 4, 1967 lines as the borders of a Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital.

A spokesman for former prime minister Ehud Olmert said that an offer had been made to Abbas in September 2008, based on the pre-1967borders, that included a six percent land swap.

He said the offer was made within the context of direct negotiations, which had been ongoing between Olmert and Abbas. The Palestinians did not respond to the offer, he added.

Talks between Abbas and Olmert broke down in December 2008, after Israel launched its military strike against Hamas in Gaza known as Operation Cast Lead.

They were resumed briefly in September, but the PA left the talks again when Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu decided not to extend the 10-month moratorium on new settlement construction.

An Israeli official said in response to Abbas’s statement that since entering office, Netanyahu has wanted to hold direct negotiations with the Palestinians.

Abbas negotiated with Olmert and with prime minister Ariel Sharon, the official said.

“We simply can not find a justifiable explanation for his consistent refusal to negotiate with Netanyahu. There is no logic to this position,” the official said.

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