Abbas at Arab League in Cairo_391.
(photo credit: Reuters)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday that he would send messages to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and world leaders defining the terms of reference and bases for resumption of direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
In a speech before Arab League foreign ministers in Cairo, Abbas warned that if Israel did not reply to his messages, he would resume efforts to unilaterally seek United Nations recognition of a Palestinian state.
Abbas conditioned the resumption of direct negotiations with Israel on a full cessation of construction in settlements and east Jerusalem, Israeli acceptance of the two-state solution on the basis of the pre-1967 lines and the release of Palestinian prisoners and detainees, especially those who were imprisoned before the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993.
Abbas again hinted at the possibility of dissolving the PA if no progress is achieved to revive the peace process.
"The Palestinian Authority can not remain without authority," he said. "The status quo can not remain like this."
Abbas said that he would first wait for a response form Israel to his messages. "If they do not respond, we will begin our steps at the Security Council, General Assembly and other UN institutions," he said. "We will also demand the activation of the 1949 Geneva Convention regarding the protection of civilians during war."
Abbas added that he did not rule out the possibility that under such circumstances Congress would cut off financial aid to the PA and Israel would withhold tax revenues belonging to the Palestinians.
The PA president renewed his call to Israel to accept the 2002 Arab peace plan, which eh described as the "most precious initiative for the Palestinian cause in 60 years."
He told the Arab foreign ministers that during last month's Israeli-Palestinian-talks in Jordan, the Palestinians presented their views regarding borders and security, while Israel did not do anything.
But Israel, he charged, was refusing to freeze settlement construction, present maps and recognize the road map for peace.
Referring to last week's Qatari-brokered reconciliation accord between Fatah and Hamas, Abbas said that he would head a transitional government tasked with preparing for presidential and parliamentary elections and rebuilding the Gaza Strip.
He warned, however, that the elections would be called off if Israel did not allow the vote to take place in east Jerusalem. "We can not hold elections without east Jerusalem," Abbas stressed.