Report: Abbas, Barak Met in Amman

PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas says he met secretly with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak last month in Amman, Jordan.

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Gabe Kahn.,

Abbas-Barak Confab
Abbas-Barak Confab
Official PA Photo

Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas told reporters in Ramallah he met with Defense Minister Ehud Barak in Amman on August 24.

Abbas, who refused to specify the circumstances behind the meeting, said the two 'discussed a number of issues' and reiterated the PA fully intends to present its statehood bid to the UN in September.

"We are going to complain to the UN about the occupation that we have been under since the Ottoman regime," he said. "We want peace. We want to be with Israel, not to isolate it. We encourage Arab nations to recognize Israel as we have promoted in the Arab Peace Initiative. We will not de-legitimize (Israel)."

Earlier, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused PA officials of doing everything to avoid negotiations saying the unilateral move at the UN would only result in deadlock.

Netanyahu, who spoke after meeting Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme, invited Abbas to come to Jerusalem, and offered to come to Ramallah to resume direct negotiations.

Abbas, who spoke to reporters after meeting with a group of Israeli scholars, did not address the PA's intention to request the UN to recognize a PA state.

Abbas confirmed that he has met with President Shimon Peres a number of times in Jordan, Italy and the UK.

"There was supposed to be another meeting on July 28, but it was cancelled due Peres' request," he said.

Meanwhile, a PA official who spoke on condition of anonymity said Ramallah has yet to decide how they will press their statehood agenda at the United Nations this month, indicating less certainty than had previously been signaled on details of the plan.

Israeli officials - but not Netanyahu himself - have indicated the plan would result in a 'diplomatic eye for an eye' and that Israel has no agreements with a 'Palestinian state.'

All agreements with the Palestinian Authority are under the Oslo Accords, which at once forbids unilateral moves while defining ministry contacts, as well economic, infrastructure, and security arrangements.

IDF officials have begun to preparing both its own forces and Jewish residents in Judea, Samaria, and eastern Jerusalem for the prospect of widespread violence in PA enclaves - or even attempts by PA forces to 'exercise sovereignty' in Israeli areas.