Abbas demands east J’lem, says Abu Dis won’t do

PA head says peace talks can’t start until Israel stops east Jerusalem construction.

By MATTHEW WAGNER
January 29, 2010 04:25
1 minute read.
US Middle East envoy George Mitchell, left, talks

abbas mitchell 311. (photo credit: AP)

 
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Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said in Moscow on Thursday that the Palestinians will not accept Abu Dis, a town between Jerusalem and Ma’aleh Adumim administered by the PA, as the capital of their future state, and will insist on receiving control over east Jerusalem.

It was important that it be clear which part of the capital belonged to the Palestinians, and which part to Israel, Abbas said in an interview with an Arabic-language Russian TV channel.

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A senior source in the Prime Minister’s Office said that the government’s position was well known: Jerusalem was, and would remain, the undivided capital of Israel. “In the framework of negotiations the Palestinians can raise whatever issue they want,” the official said, “but our position is well known.”

Regarding Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s demand that the PA recognize Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people, Abbas said that this demand appeared only in the 1947 UN partition plan, hinting that Israel would have to implement that plan – which at the time the Jews accepted, while the Arabs rejected – in order to gain recognition as a Jewish state.

Abbas said he would not resume peace talks with Israel without Netanyahu agreeing to a Palestinian state along the June 4, 1967, lines, and while Israel continued construction in east Jerusalem.

“What if they say in this meeting that they do not accept the ’67 borders and are not prepared to discuss [the issues of] refugees? What would we talk about?” Abbas was quoted as telling the Russian TV channel. “If I engage in negotiations while construction goes on – they will say that it is theirs, since I was willing to resume talks while construction continued.”

Israeli officials point out that the Palestinians have conducted negotiations on-and-off with Israel for more than a decade without conditioning them on a total halt to construction in settlements or in east Jerusalem.


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