Abbas: Israelis must choose between peace, continued occupation of Palestinian lands

Palestinian Authority President says at economic conference in Egypt that there "is no alternative but to re-evaluate the security and economic relations with Israel."

By YASSER OKBI/ MAARIV HASHAVUA
March 14, 2015 16:56
2 minute read.
John Kerry, King Abdullah, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Mahmoud Abbas.

US Secretary of State John Kerry, Jordanian King Abdullah, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas meet on March 13, 2015.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

As Israelis prepare to head for the polls for the general election on Tuesday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Israel must choose “between peace and the continued occupation of Palestinian lands.”

Abbas made his remarks on Friday at an Egyptian international economic conference in the Sinai resort town of Sharm e-Sheikh.

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“There is no alternative but to reevaluate the security and economic relations with Israel,” Abbas said.

In his speech Abbas said, “it cannot be that Israel can continue to act above international law and not abide by signed agreements, continue to Judaize Jerusalem, continue to hold the Gaza under siege and continue to rule over 60 percent of our land in the West Bank.”

Abbas complained about Israel’s decision not to transfer the PA’s tax revenue, saying the move has caused it to be helpless and has made it difficult to support the Palestinian people and manage its institutions.

Israel in January froze the transfer of some NIS 500 million in tax collections to the PA. The move came as a protest of the formal application for membership of the International Criminal Court that was filed by the PA on behalf of the “State of Palestine.”

US Secretary of State John Kerry, Abbas, Jordan’s King Abdullah and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met on Friday on the sidelines of the economic conference where they discussed the stalled Middle East peace process.

The four leaders discussed creating an environment to “push forward the peace process to reach a comprehensive and just peace in the region,” Sisi’s office said, AFP reported.

Kerry said US President Barack Obama remains committed to a two-state solution, adding that, “he remains hopeful that whatever choice that people of Israel make, that there will be an ability to be able to move forward on those efforts.”

Peace talks broke down in April 2014 after nine months of negotiations led by Kerry, with the long-standing goal of a two-state solution no closer.

Meanwhile, Fawzi Barhoum, Hamas spokesman, said this week that Hamas disregards Israel’s internal politics since they all hold the same policies towards the Palestinians.

“We don’t differentiate between contenders, we don’t differentiate between the governments nor between the Israeli parties. The [Israeli] majority agrees on whoever kills more, destroys more, Judaizes and achieves more for Israel without giving anything to the Palestinian people,” said Barhoum from his office in Gaza City.

Reuters and Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.


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