Abbas will not back down from ultimatum to Hamas

Just hours before the deadline, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas said Monday that he would not back down from the ultimatum to Hamas to accept the prisoners' initiative. Abbas has given Hamas until Tuesday to accept the proposal and the standoff set the stage for Abbas to announce a referendum on the plan implicitly recognizing Israel. A last-ditch negotiating session Monday night was called off, and participants acknowledged that there was little chance of reaching a deal before the midnight deadline.