PMO: Abbas Avoiding Peace Talks
The Prime Minister's Office on Saturday described the Palestinian Authority's announcement it would submit its statehood bid to the United Nations on September 20 as "expected and unfortunate."
PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki on Saturday informed UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon that PA President Mahmoud Abbas will ask the international community to recognize 'Palestine' as a sovereign state on the first day of the annual opening gathering at UN headquarters in New York.
"It seems that Abu Mazen [Abbas] has decided to avoid direct negotiations," a PMO statement said in response to the PA announcement. This, in effect, means that the PA has decided not to try to achieve peace with Israel.
The Israeli mission to the UN responded to news the PA has decided to go ahead with its statehood bid by reiterating calls to return to the negotiating table.
Opposition leader Tzipi Livni on Saturday repeated her well-worn mantra that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's failure to engage in negotiations with the PA led to its decision to ask the United Nations to recognize a Palestinian State on September 20.
"The Palestinian decision is bad for Israel and only one person is responsible for this diplomatic failure - Netanyahu," Livni said in a statement. "Netanyahu's inability to understand the situation and his refusal to continue negotiations -- which Kadima had been holding in keeping with Israel's best interests -- are leading Israel to one of the most dangerous diplomatic failures in its history," she added.
Livni did not address PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas' two-year refusal to come to the negotiating table without preconditions prejudicing talks in favor of his maximalist positions, his refusal to recognize Israel as the Jewish homeland or acknowledge Israeli concessions she herself backed -- such as the ten month freeze on Jewish construction in the 'disputed territories' -- undertaken in the vain hopes of drawing the PA back to the table.
MK Arye Eldad (National Union) on Saturday night called on Israel to cancel the Oslo Accords in reaction to the Palestinian announcement. Minister Uzi Landau (Yisrael Beitenu) said the same a day earlier.
"The Government of Israel should announce immediately that with this application to the UN the Oslo Accords will be canceled and Israel should declare that Israeli law will be implemented in Judea and Samaria," Eldad said in a statement.