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Mitchell Tells Abbas, Netanyahu 'Talk Now' - Abbas Refuses

US envoy George Mitchell, on his way to Jerusalem, calls for an immediate resumption of Israeli-PA talks. PA Chairman Abbas said he refuses.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 6/8/2009, 12:24 PM

Israel News Photo: Flash 90

U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell, en route to Jerusalem, told reporters that U.S. President Barack Obama wants the Palestinian Authority and Israel to meet for “immediate” talks towards the creation of a new PA state, but PA Chairman Abbas refused.

Mitchell pointed out that a “normalization of relations” between Israel and Arab nations is in "the security interests of the United States.” The Obama government has found a new basis for pressuring both sides to meet by making a regional peace and the creation of a PA state matters of American security.

Mitchell spoke to the media following another PA donor’s meeting, this time in Oslo, Norway. Mitchell said the meeting of potential donors was aimed “to provide support” for the PA and help it build “institutions and governmental capacity so that at an early time there can be an independent and viable Palestinian state.”

Following Mitchell's statement, Abbas reiterated his refusal to meet with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu until the Israeli government agrees to the establishment of a new PA state. He also mantained, “We were requested to take care of security, and we have done this. Israel must fulfill its obligations” and stop building in Judea and Samaria.

Prime Minister Netanyahu has offered to meet without any pre-conditions but has pointed out there will be no progress until PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas accepts Israel as a Jewish state.

The Israeli leader has rejected President Obama’s call for recognizing a yet-to-be created PA state, a move that Abbas likely would interpret as the acceptance of his demands that the new Arab country be established on all of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, including eastern Jerusalem, where he wants the Arab capital.

A recognition by Abbas as a Jewish state would prevent the PA from implementing the condition of the Saudi Arabia Peace Plan, which calls for the immigration of five million foreign Arabs to Israel on the basis of their claim of ancestry in Israel. Abbas has said he would not insist that all five million be allowed to enter Israel but has not said what number he will settle for.