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      Abbas: Don’t Connect US Aid to Israel with Building Freeze

      PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas tells reporters the US cannot mix up its foreign aid to Israel with the issue of peace negotiations.
      By Chana Ya'ar
      First Publish: 11/21/2010, 12:18 PM / Last Update: 11/21/2010, 12:23 PM

      Flash 90

      Palestinian Authority Chairman and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas is warning that peace negotiations with Israel should not be confused with the issue of U.S. foreign aid to the Jewish State.

      The comment came in response to a question about an alleged promise by the U.S. to supply Israel with 20 F-35 fighter jets in return for a controversial 90-day moratorium on Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria, during which time Israel is expected to reach an agreeement on borders.. 

      “We have nothing to do with all that,” Abbas said in an interview published Friday in the London-based Arabic-language newspaper, A-Sharq al-Awsat.

      “The United States is an ally of Israel, and we cannot prevent that. But let their aid be carried out far removed from the… peace negotiations and not be used as a pretext for giving more weaponry to Israel,” he added.

      The United States has been trying to find a way to persuade Abbas to return to the negotiating table since he fled the talks up until less than four weeks before a 10-month ban expired on construction of new Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria.

      Although he briefly appeared for negotiations and a photo op at the White House on September 2 and two subsequent meetings, he raced away when Israel’s Jewish building freeze ended September 26.

      Abbas first abandoned direct negotiations that were already in progress when Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu took office nearly two years ago. Repeated attempts by the U.S. since then to woo the reluctant PA chairman back to the table have been largely ineffective.