Abbas: US rejection of statehood plan unclear

US opposition has only been delivered through mediators, PA president says; urges “popular and unarmed resistance against occupation."

Abbas scratching his head 311 (r) (photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman)
Abbas scratching his head 311 (r)
(photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman)
The Palestinian Authority leadership hasn’t yet heard from the US administration that Washington is opposed to the plan to ask the UN to recognize a Palestinian state on the pre-1967 lines, PA President Mahmoud Abbas said on Wednesday.
“We heard about their opposition through mediators,” Abbas told a PLO parley in Ramallah. “The leadership hasn’t received a clear American rejection of the idea to go to the UN. We don’t want a clash with America. We want to coordinate our positions with the world, including the US.”
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Abbas’s statement came despite the fact that senior PA officials who visited Washington in the past two months clearly stated that the US administration had threatened to use the veto in the Security Council to thwart the PA plan.
Abbas was addressing the PLO Central Council, which convened to discuss the PA’s statehood initiative.
He reiterated his determination to proceed with the statehood bid in September, saying he was waiting for the advice of Arab and Western legal experts on the matter.
“We are going to the Security Council and we will confirm this on August 4, when the Arab League meets in Doha in the attendance of Arab and foreign experts who would give us advice,” Abbas said. “Whether we succeed or not, it won’t be an alternative to negotiations [with Israel]. But if we succeed, negotiations would take a different shape. Our choice is negotiations even after we go to the UN.”
Abbas said it was too late for the PA leadership to backtrack on the UN statehood plan. “We have 122 countries that recognize the state of Palestine on the 1967 borders,” he added.
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“We want to rally support and seek the advice of everyone.”
Abbas dismissed allegations that the statehood bid was a unilateral act in violation of the Oslo Accords.
“This is not a unilateral act, as claimed by Israel and the US,” he explained. “We want to complain to 193 countries. This is not unilateralism. Israel’s theft of land, settlements and siege are unilateral acts. Israel is violating the signed agreements with the Palestinians.”
He denied that the PA was seeking to isolate Israel through the statehood bid. “We want to live alongside Israel in security and peace and stability,” Abbas said in his speech. “We want to isolate Israel’s policy; we don’t want to delegitimize Israel.”
Abbas said he was in favor of a “popular and unarmed resistance against occupation, the wall and settlements.” He expressed regret that only a small number of Europeans, Americans, Israelis and Palestinians were participating in demonstrations against the security fence in the West Bank.
“In this coming period, we want mass action, organized and coordinated in every place,” Abbas said. “This is a chance to raise our voices in front of the world and say that we want our rights. We support popular resistance,” he said. “We are now inspired by the protests of the Arab Spring, all of which cry out ‘peaceful, peaceful.’”
He said that the main reason why the peace talks were stalled was Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s insistence on resuming the negotiations from the beginning and not from where they were halted under his predecessor, Ehud Olmert.
Abbas also reaffirmed his firm opposition to recognizing Israel as a Jewish state.
An Israeli government official responded to Abbas’s call to step up Arab Spring-style “mass action” by saying that the “Palestinian leadership unfortunately is doing its people a disservice and pushing a Palestinian state further into the distant future by its consistent refusal to negotiate peace with Israel, and by its adoption of a unilateralist track.”
“The Arab spring is about democracy,” the official said. “To try and hijack that to support a maximalist unilateralist agenda would seem a perversion of what the Arab Spring should really be about.”