'J'lem will be Palestinian capital'

Abbas: Peace talks can’t start until Israel stops Jerusalem construction.

abbas mitchell 311 (photo credit: AP)
abbas mitchell 311
(photo credit: AP)

Palestinian Authority PresidentMahmoud Abbas on Thursday said that the Palestinians would not accept Abu Dis, atown between Jerusalem and Ma'aleh Adumim thatis currently controlled by the PA, as the capital of their future state, but would insiston receiving control over east Jerusalem.

In an interview with an Arab-languageRussian TV channel, Abbas explained that while he feels east and west must not be divided in practice, it wasimportant that it would be clear which part of the capital belongs to the Palestiniansand which part belongs to Israel.

The PA president said that the Israelidemand to be recognized as a Jewish state appeared only in the 1947 partitionplan, hinting that Israel would have to implement that plan in order to gain recognition as a Jewishstate.

Abbas went on to explain that hecould not resume peace talks with Israel without agreeing on basic issues andwhile Israel continued construction in east Jerusalem, because the peaceprocess would suffer a serious blow already after the first meeting.

“What if they say in this meetingthat they do not accept the ’67 borders and are not prepared to discuss [theissues of] and the [return of Palestinian] refugees? What would we talk about?” Abbas wasquoted as telling the Russian TV channel. “If I engage in negotiations while constructionin goes on – they will say that is theirs,since I was willing to resume talks while construction continued.”

has rejected two ideas about resuming the peace talks, consolidated by the PA, and , Abbas claimed. Those ideasreportedly included a short building moratorium in the West Bank and eastJerusalem, Israeli recognition of international decisions and the resumptionof peace talks from the point they were halted in December 2008, under then-primeminister Ehud Olmert.