PA president's comments come as unity talks set to resume; on Israel - If there’s no settlement freeze, I’ll turn to Obama or the UN.
By KHALED ABU TOAMEH
The Palestinian Authority won’t agree to share security powers with Hamas, PA President Mahmoud Abbas said on Thursday.His remarks came as Hamas and Fatah representatives are set to resume reconciliation talks in Damascus on Tuesday.“Everything can be shared – the Palestinian Legislative Council and the government – except for security,” Abbas said in an interview with a Kuwaiti newspaper.“Security can be only in the hands of one party and one leadership. The idea of sharing security in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip is completely unacceptable.”Abbas said Fatah would reject such an idea if it’s raised by Hamas during next week’s discussions in Syria. He nevertheless expressed hope that Hamas would accept an Egyptian plan for solving the Hamas-Fatah dispute.“The Egyptian document is the basis for any reconciliation,” he said, noting that Fatah has accepted it and was ready to sign it.Abbas said he agreed to hold the talks in Damascus despite a row that erupted between him and Syrian President Bashar Assad at the recent Arab summit in Libya. The Palestinians have accused Assad of “offending” Abbas by accusing him of succumbing to Israeli and American pressure to return to the negotiating table with Israel.AdvertisementThe PA president lashed out at Iran, accusing it of meddling in the internal affairs of the Palestinians in a negative manner.“Iran is imposing its agenda on Hamas,” he said. “It is also obstructing the peace process and interfering in the entire Arab region in the Gulf, Yemen, Lebanon and Palestine.”Asked what steps the PA would take if the peace process failed, Abbas said that his first option was to return to the negotiations when settlement construction stops.The second option, he added, would be to go to the Americans and ask them to set a frame for a permanent solution to all final-status issues.If the second option doesn’t succeed, the Palestinians would go the UN and seek recognition of a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders, Abbas said.However, he stressed that the Palestinians would choose this option only as a last resort “and if all doors are closed in our face.”He added: “We don’t want to go the UN Security Council and General Assembly. But if Israel insists on pursuing settlements and rejecting negotiations, what should we do? To whom are we supposed to go? There should be a place we could go to, which is the UN Security Council.”Abbas denied that he had any intention of resigning from his post. But he said that he had no plans to run again in another presidential election.With regards to the possibility that he may dismantle the PA if the peace talks fail, Abbas said: “Israel, through its daily practices and continued occupation, may force us to take measures.”
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