Mahmoud Abbas:West Bank status quo

In interview with Ma'an, PA president decries continued settlement building, says Israel uninterested in annexing West Bank.

Mahmoud Abbas 311 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Mahmoud Abbas 311
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday decried the continued settlement building in the West Bank, but stated that Israel is interested in maintaining the status quo.
In an interview with Palestinian news agency Ma'an, Abbas said that Israeli politicians are using the two-state solution as a slogan for the purposes of public opinion but are acting against a negotiated settlement. Evidence of this, he said, is the West Bank settlement enterprise, which he called an obstacle to the peace process.
The PA president is set to deliver a long-anticipated letter to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Tuesday, which will include a warning that the two-state solution could collapse unless Israel changes its current policies.
During the interview, Abbas praised US President Barack Obama for his insistence on an Israeli settlement moratorium in the West Bank, saying that this should be a necessary precondition for negotiations.
Asked if he believes Israel is working towards an end goal of annexing the West Bank, Abbas said that Israel is actually trying to avoid this outcome because it does not want an influx of West Bank (Arab) residents.
Abbas insisted that a peace deal with Israel would necessitate a complete Israeli evacuation from the Jordan Valley. PM Netanyahu has previously said that as a security precaution Israel will only sign an agreement with the Palestinians if it includes an Israeli presence in the Jordan Valley.