Daily Israel Report

Abbas Dictates Terms to Quartet

PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas dictated his terms for dropping his UN statehood bid to the Quartet, demands they adopt his negotiating position
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 7/4/2011, 7:13 PM / Last Update: 7/4/2011, 9:24 PM

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PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas dictated his terms for dropping his statehood bid at the United Nations in September to the Mideast Quartet, the PA-run Maan news agency reported Monday.

Abbas advisor Nimer Hammad told reporters the PA will abandon its plan to ask the UN in September to recognize a PA based on pre-1967-lines if Quartet members – the US, EU, UN and Russia – recognize the two-state principle as the basis for a settlement, and call on Israel to withdraw from all territories captured in 1967, including east Jerusalem.
 
Hammad also said the Quartet should also call for a full cessation of construction in Jewish settlements and set a clear timetable for Israeli-PA peace talks.
 
The PA's bombastic posturing comes as Abbas' unilateral bid outside the framework of the Oslo Accords to have a state imposed by the international community finds itself losing momentum. 
 
Quartet members have individually opposed the move, as have several western European nations, and even Jordan. Arab support has proven tepid.
 
Quartet representatives are scheduled to meet on July 11 to discuss developments in the Middle East and how the PA's bid at the UN would affect the peace process. 
 
“The Palestinian Authority is determined to proceed with its plan to go to the UN Security Council if Israel continues to deny the rights of the Palestinians and international legitimacy,” Hammad said.
 
 “We are continuing with preparations in the legal and international arenas for the September battle. But if the Quartet endorses the two-state solution and demands a freeze of settlement construction, we will change our mind.”
 
PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat said Monday the PA would return to the negotiating table when Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu declares his acceptance of the two-state solution on the basis of the pre-1967 lines and halts construction not only in the Judea and Samaria, but also in east Jerusalem.
 
Erekat claimed a new construction freeze by Israel and dilineating defacto borders before negotiations did not constitute "pre-conditions" on the PA's part.
 
Erekat is scheduled to visit Washington later this week for talks with US Administration officials on the statehood bid and ways of resuming the stalled peace process with Israel. He will be accompanied by Abbas’s spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudaineh.
 
The US openly opposes the PA bid at the UN and has said it will exercise its security council veto to scuttle it should it be brought to a vote. The US senate also unanimously passed a non-binding resolution calling on the Obama administration to cancel all aid to the PA if it pursues statehood at the UN.