Netanyahu Abbas 311 AP.
(photo credit: Associated Press)
Israeli intransigence regarding the issue of settlement construction is the reason behind the current crisis in the peace process, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Saturday.
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Abbas’s remarks came during a phone conversation with British Foreign Secretary William Hague and a meeting in Ramallah with US Consul-General Daniel Rubinstein.
Abbas told the two that halting the construction was the only way to resume the stalled peace talks with Israel.
A PA official said that the US consul general briefed Abbas on the
results of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s talks in the US last
The official claimed that the Americans failed again in
convincing Netanyahu to agree to a full cessation of settlement
construction in return for the resumption of the peace talks.
PA negotiator Saeb Erekat announced over the weekend that the
Palestinians may ask the US to recognize a Palestinian state on the 1967
lines if the Americans fail to pressure Israel to stop the construction
in one month.
“If the US can’t oblige
Israel to stop the settlements during this month, we will ask the US to
recognize a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders, including East
Jerusalem,” Erekat said.
He pointed out that 107 countries have
recognized the Palestinian state and that the Palestinians have official
embassies in dozens of countries. “Unfortunately, the US still hasn’t
recognized us,” he said. “Also, there are 21 EU states that haven’t
recognized us although we have representative offices there.”
said it was “unjust” to hold both Israel and the Palestinians
responsible for the suspension of the peace talks. “The Israeli
government is responsible for the collapse of the negotiations because
of its practices and construction in the settlements, especially during
Netanyahu’s visit to Washington,” he said. “Why aren’t they holding the
Israeli government responsible as they promised to do when they said
that they would hold the party responsible for the collapse of the talks
PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad was quoted as
saying that the proposed US guarantees to Israel in return for a freeze
of settlement construction for two months were not less dangerous than
the construction itself.
Fayyad said that the US guarantees were
dangerous for the Palestinian cause. He also warned against any attempt
to prevent the Palestinians from asking the United Nations Security
Council to recognize a Palestinian state should the peace process fail.
He added that in any case there was no need to declare the establishment
of a Palestinian state because the Palestinians had already made such a
declaration in Algeria in 1988.