Abbas threatens to renew UN statehood bid

Amos Gilad: Accord will only come through negotiations, no way of implementing deal without PA regaining control of Gaza.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas 390 (R) (photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman)
PA President Mahmoud Abbas 390 (R)
(photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas renewed his threat on Sunday to unilaterally seek UN recognition of a Palestinian state if Israel did not accept his conditions for resuming the peace process.
Abbas made the threat during a meeting in his office in Ramallah with an Israeli delegation headed by former minister and MK Yossi Beilin (Meretz).
Abbas told the delegation that the letter which he plans to send to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is aimed at breaking the stalemate in the peace process.
The Palestinians will wait for the Israeli reply before deciding on their next options, Abbas said.
He added that there would be no resumption of the peace talks unless Israel halted settlement activities in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, accepted the June 4, 1967 lines as the future borders of a Palestinian state and released Palestinian prisoners.
Abbas said that these demands would be included in his letter, which will be delivered to Netanyahu next week.
A PA delegation headed by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad is expected to meet Netanyahu either next Tuesday or Wednesday in Jerusalem to hand him the letter.
The Israeli delegation that met Abbas Sunday included former IDF Chief of Staff Amnon Lipkin Shahak and Meretz leader Zehava Gal- On, and expressed its annoyance with the current stalemate in the peace process, the PA’s Wafa news agency reported.
The agency said that Beilin and the delegation urged Abbas to address the Israeli public directly to explain the Palestinian position regarding the peace process and voice the Palestinians’ desire to achieve peace.
The Israeli government position on the diplomatic process has been consistent for months: an immediate start to negotiations without pre-conditions. Amos Gilad, head of the Defense Ministry’s Diplomatic-Security bureau, reiterated the government’s position that a peace agreement can only come through negotiations, not unilateral actions. In an Israel Radio interview Sunday he said that Israel’s agreements with Egypt and Jordan, as well as its interim accords with the Palestinians, were only reached through negotiations.
“There is no alternative to negotiation, there is no other way,” he said, adding that a Palestinian return to the UN would not produce any result.
Gilad also said there was no way of implementing an agreement without the PA regaining control of Gaza.
Hamas controls the Strip.
“Our position is to enter negotiations, because that is the only way to reach peace, but it does not mean we will give up security demands that are critical for us,” he said.
A few days after Fayyad delivers the Palestinian letter to Israel, Israeli negotiator Yitzhak Molcho is expected to bring Israel’s response to the Palestinians.
Israel’s letter is expected to include the following points: Israel is prepared for peace talks with the Palestinians where all the core issues will be on the agenda; Israel places no pre-conditions whatsoever on entering the talks; an agreement reached must contain Palestinian recognition of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people, and include effective security arrangements.
The Netanyahu-Fayyad meeting and the anticipated exchange of letters has breathed some life into a diplomatic process that has been stagnant since Israeli and Palestinian officials met last in Jordan on January 25.
The recent activity has overshadowed a scheduled meeting this Wednesday in Washington of the Quartet principals – US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and UN Secretary-General Ban Kimoon.