Abbas tells Meretz leader he'll proceed with UN bid

PA president says renewed statehood bid is not an alternative to, but rather a safeguard for the two-state solution.

Abbas and Gal-On 370 (photo credit: reuters)
Abbas and Gal-On 370
(photo credit: reuters)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday that he remained committed to the two-state solution despite the current crisis in the peace process.
Abbas told a visiting Meretz delegation headed by MK Zehava Gal-On that he would proceed with plans to ask the UN General Assembly next month to recognize a Palestinian state. Abbas said that his new statehood bid was not an alternative to the peace talks, but was intended to safeguard the two-state solution.
A Meretz spokeswoman quoted Abbas as saying during the 60-minute meeting in his Ramallah office: “We want to live peacefully next to Israel. The decision to go to the UN is not an alternative to the peace negotiations, but an option for preserving the two-state solution.”
During the meeting, Gal- On expressed reservations about Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman’s recent letter to Quartet representatives. In the letter, Liberman called for replacing Abbas through new elections.
Gal-On described the letter as “embarrassing,” adding that the foreign minister was “acting cynically for internal motives.”
Abbas complained that Liberman has been inciting against him for the past two years.
“Now he is waging a daily campaign against me,” the PA president told the Meretz delegation. “He and the government he belongs to are doing everything they can to eliminate the peace process.”
Abbas was originally expected to hold a joint press conference with the Meretz leader following the meeting. However, Gal-On later appeared before journalists together with chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat.
PA officials did not offer any explanation as to why Abbas did not participate in the press conference.
The Meretz spokeswoman said the delegation members were made to understand over the weekend that Abbas and Gal-On would hold a joint press conference in Ramallah.
Erekat said that Abbas agreed to meet with the Israeli delegation because of Meretz’s “encouraging positions” toward the Palestinian cause. He pointed out that the Meretz visitors voiced strong opposition to Liberman’s “racist” campaign against Abbas.
A spokesman for Liberman responded to a comment Erekat made at the press conference that the foreign minister would have accused Mother Teresa of “diplomatic terrorism” had she headed the PA, saying “the last thing one can say about Abbas is that he resembles Mother Teresa.”
This reference, the spokesman said, certainly has Mother Teresa – an Indian Catholic nun noted for her work with the poor – “turning in her grave.”
As opposed to Abbas, Liberman’s spokesman said, Mother Teresa “never glorified and funded terrorists.
Abu Mazen [Abbas] devotes all his time as PA chairman to diplomatic terror against Israel, and to ensuring the failure of any chance for an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.”
Herb Keinon contributed to this report.