Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A Palestinian official on Tuesday dismissed US threats to cut off financial aid if PA President Mahmoud Abbas dismantles his government in the event that peace talks with Israel fail.
Following reports over the weekend that the government in Ramallah could dismantle itself as a result of Israeli "intransigence," US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki warned on Monday that such a move would have implications - including financial - for relations between Washington and the PA.
Veteran Fatah leader Qadura Fares told Army Radio that officials in Ramallah were not overly concerned about the American warnings, as the main concern of the Palestinian "struggle" was the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, and not the procurement of money from the international arena.
"The struggle is for the establishment of a Palestinian state, so that the Palestinian people will have freedom and liberty," Fares, the president of the Palestinian Prisoner's Society told the radio station.
He added that the Palestinians alone were not responsible for resolving the Middle East conflict, and said that if the conflict was going to continue, it would continue.
Fares pointed toward moves that would prolong the conflict, stating that Israel could go ahead and annex the West Bank and build more settlements if it wanted to.
On Monday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu criticized the Palestinian Authority, saying that Abbas's threat to dissolve the PA and the ruling Fatah faction’s efforts to forge unity with Hamas
indicate a lack of desire for peace.
“Today, we saw the Palestinian Authority speak of dismantling itself and also talking about unity with Hamas,” the premier told revelers at a Mimouna celebration in Or Akiva. “They should decide – either dissolve, or enter into a union with Hamas. When they want peace, they should let us know. Because we want a genuine peace.”
Palestinian officials in Ramallah on Monday, meanwhile, denied that the PA has been considering dissolving itself depending on the outcome of peace negotiations. Khaled Abu Toameh contributed to this report.