Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas escalated his rhetoric Monday, warning that continued Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria constitutes a “time bomb."
Israel's U.N. envoy Meron Reuben called his comments "destructive rhetoric,” adding that “it takes two to tango, Israel cannot reach this peace on its own.”
Abbas’ “time bomb” comment follows months of increasing incitement against Israel, including officially honoring suicide bombers and preaching in schools and mosques that all of Israel – from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea – is “Palestine.”
His reference to a “time bomb” was made in comments to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, whom he wrote, “The deterioration in the peace process must be addressed. This requires bringing a decisive and final end to the vicious Israeli settlement campaign."
He added that the continuing development of Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria "constitutes a time bomb that could destroy everything we have accomplished on the road to peace at any moment."
U.S. President Barack Obama tried to return Abbas to the “diplomatic process” in September and managed to bring the PA leader and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu into the same room for two and half hours, but the discussion was devoid of content except for procedural issues.
The main sticking issue is Abbas’ demand that Israel re-instate the expired building freeze that was imposed in order to bring him to the negotiating table.
He has said that there is nothing to be negotiated and that Israel must accept the Arab world’s demands to surrender all of the land restored to the Jewish State in the Six-Day War in 1967 and recognize a Palestinian Authority in Jerusalem. Abbas also still insists on the right of immigration to Israel for five million Arabs living in Arab countries.
Prime Minister Netanyahu has proposed the idea of a “land swap,” giving away Israeli land in exchange for Israeli sovereignty over major Jewish population centers in Judea and Samaria, such as Maaleh Adumin and Gush Etzion. The Prime Minister also has insisted that the PA recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
Abbas this week reiterated his rejection of all of the Israeli proposals.