Abbas Rejects Third Intifada; Beats Unilateralist Drums
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas rejected the idea of a third intifada today during a visit to Tunisia.
Speaking to reporters, Abbas described the second intifada in 2000 as 'disastrous' for the 'Palestinian nation' and said he 'would not accept' a third intifada even if current 'peace efforts' fail.
Abbas reiterated he would seek the unilateral declaration of a PA state by the United Nations if a peace deal is not reached with Israel come September.
Abbas has flatly refused to come to the negotiating table and has manufactured preconditions when pressure has been brought to bear on the PA by the Quartet, especially the United States, for the PA to restart peace talks with Israel.
The most recent demand was the release of all PA security prisoners in Israeli jails. This was in addition to Abbas' insistence Israel extend its moratorium on building in Judea, Samaria, and eastern Jerusalem. The original building freeze was done as a good faith gesture on Israel's part to bring Abbas to the negotiating table - which he declined to do.
Despite this, Abbas maintains that he remains committed to a US-supported goal of reaching a peace deal with Israel by September. How such a deal is to materialize in the absence of talks between Israel and the PA is a mystery.
The US on Tuesday rejected PA intentions to pursue efforts to ask the UN Security Council to recognize a PA state in September.
"We don't believe it's a good idea, we don't believe it's helpful," said US State Department spokesman Mark Toner. "We continue to press both sides to begin talking again in direct negotiations."
Abbas, however, has signaled that he is determined to pursue efforts to ask the UN to recognize a PA state irrespective of US objections.
"We are counting on the words of US President Barack Obama," Abbas said on Teusday. "Who said his vision is to see a Palestinian state this coming September according to a deadline set by the Quartet."
"More than 130 countries have already recognized a Palestinian state on 1967 borders. This number has the potential to reach 140 or 150," Abbas said.