Report: Abbas to hold referendum on any future peace proposal

Abbas tells Jordanian newspaper that if no agreement is reached after peace push, all options will remain open.

July 22, 2013 11:16
1 minute read.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas (R) and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad pray in the West Bank, 2012.

Abbas and Fayyad look like they have a headache, 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman)


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Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday stressed that any agreement reached with the Israelis will be brought to a referendum, echoing calls from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the right-wing parties in his coalition.

In an interview at his presidential headquarters in Ramallah, Abbas told Jordanian newspaper Al Rai that if no agreement is reached after the peace push, all options will remain open.

Abbas stated that the "the Unites States is serious in formulating a solution to the Palestinian issue, through introducing a Palestinian state within the 1967 lines with East Jerusalem as its capital."

"We were close to an agreement with Ehud Olmert, but he stumbled in the political arena, and then came Binyamin Netanyahu and the peace process was disrupted," Abbas added.

However, the very revival of the talks appear to be up in the air, according to a senior Fatah official.

"Returning back to negotiations depends on two steps we asked the American side to agree on," Fatah official Nabil Shaath told Palestinian news agency Ma'an on Sunday.

Speaking following US Secretary of State John Kerry's announcement on the renewal of peace talks, Shaath told Ma'an that only if the Americans agree to their two steps, the Palestinian Authority will "go to the next step."

According to Shaath, the next step is preliminary negotiations in Washington "to discuss the rules and the terms of direct negotiations."

"We will not go back to negotiations unless we get what we asked for," Shaath stated firmly.

Speculation points to one of the 'steps' as the release of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

Agence France-Presse reported on Monday that Israel is set to release 82 Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails ahead of renewed peace negotiations.

"The prisoner releases will start when talks commence," an Israeli official told AFP on condition of anonymity. "We're talking about releasing them in stages.

"There were "some 80 prisoners" set to be released, all of them "pre-Oslo," the official added, referring to Palestinians imprisoned before the Oslo peace accords.The official did not say when a decision would be made on their release.

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