By JPOST.COM STAFF
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was doing his best to sound dovish in an interview with the Wall Street Journal published Tuesday, saying that he would not let a third intifada break out.
"I will not allow a new intifada. As long as I'm in office, I will not allow anybody to start a new intifada," he said. "Never never."
"The evidence is that in three years it hasn't happened," he continued. "The evidence is that every day there are provocations and there hasn't been a violent response. So I have control over matters and I am confident that I can control things as long as I'm in office."
However, the question remains how long exactly he will stay in office, having already announced that he will not run in the next Palestinian presidential elections. He did admit that he'd be powerless to stop such an uprising once he leaves office.
"It could happen. It will pain me. I will be very angry if something happens in the future because it's not the proper act to be done by the Palestinian people," said the PA president. "But at that time it's not my responsibility. I am responsible as long as I am in office. The moment I leave it's not my responsibility."
He said that when he ran for president he publicly stated his opposition to the armed uprising.
"I said publicly, I am against the armed intifada, I am against the futile rockets and I am for peace. If you want to elect me, okay, if you don't, it doesn't matter."
Nevertheless, Abbas expressed his support for the weekly protests against the West Bank security barrier in Bil'in and Nil'in, protests that have often turned violent.
"The people of Bil'in and Nil'in go out and protest peacefully against the wall. I am with any peaceful protest that expresses the opinion of the people. I support this. But I am against the bullets and the rockets," he said.
He went on to say that he had long been a believer in peace being the only way forward for Israelis and Palestinians.
"Since the 1970s, I have believed in peace, and I worked for peace and for the relations and the contacts between the Palestinians and the Israelis," he said. "Until now I am convinced that peace is the only choice for both sides, for the Palestinians and the Israelis. The other choice is destructive."
Abbas stood by his support of Palestinians boycotting products made in the settlements, but rejected calls for a broader boycott against Israel.
"We are asking every day that the European countries and the world stop buying these products," he said. "But we never said boycott Israel. We never boycotted Israel. We have contacts with them every day. We buy from them electricity, water, and even the air. We buy air! They sell us air! Truly, the air. Cell phone frequencies. And they haggle with us over the air. 'We'll give 3.1 of air' they say, and we say 'no we want 3.8,' and they say 'no way you'll get .8 of air.' AIR!"
Abbas said he supported a deal to free captured IDF soldier Gilad Schalit for "at least 1,000 Palestinian prisoners," but said he didn't think it will have a big effect on the Palestinian political stage.
Nevertheless, he called one of those possible prisoners, Marwan Barghouti, touted to be a future leader of the Palestinian people, "a man who has a good reputation and a good history of resistance," and said it was "not out of the question that he would run" for president.
Abbas said he decided not to run for reelection due to the frozen peace process and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's refusal to totally halt "settlement" construction, including in Jerusalem.
He also put down the decision not to run on Hamas's "reneging" on Palestinian reconciliation efforts.
On the issue of settlements, Abbas said the US "should see how Europe addressed the problem."
"Europe stressed that the Palestinian lands of 1967 are occupied lands, and east Jerusalem is occupied and at Annapolis all the states participating without exception called for stopping the expansion of settlements," he said. "The international community supports our position, and so it's up to [the Americans] to move to apply international law and not to take a position just to take a position.
However, the PA president stressed that the Palestinian had not "lost hope" in the Obama administration.
"We are still seeing that President Obama can do something."
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