As he threatened to cancel previous agreements with Israel and continued to set preconditions for peace negotiations, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas claimed Saturday the Hamas terror group has agreed to accept a Palestinian state along the pre-1967 borders.
In an interview with the Al Jazeera television network, cited by Channel 10 News, Abbas said that the Ramallah-based PA government that controls Arab areas in Judea and Samaria, and Hamas, do not have any political differences. “We agreed that the negotiations with Israel will continue provided that Israel stops building settlements. There is also an agreement on non-violent demonstrations,” Abbas claimed.
Abbas recently reached a unity deal with Hamas, his longtime political rival. The unity deal called to have Abbas lead an interim unity government ahead of general elections. During subsequent talks in Cairo last, however, Hamas reneged on the previous agreement and outlined new terms.
During the interview with Al Jazeera, however, Abbas denied there were any issues with Hamas and proceeded to blame Israel for the stalled peace talks.
“The day the agreement was signed I said there would be a transitional autocratic government which will be led my own way,” he said. “The problem is with Israel. No matter how much we try to talk, Israel is always against. At first they said that cannot make peace only with Judea and Samaria, and then they asked me to choose between Hamas and Israel. It's all an excuse because they do not want peace.”
The interview concluded with Abbas being asked whether he was optimistic about the peace process, to which he responded by hinting that the PA would continue to seek statehood unilaterally.
“I'm neither optimistic nor pessimistic,” he said. “How are we going to reach a solution using the data that we have? Many countries have recognized us so far. Most European countries recognize us and will upgrade our representation to an embassy level. There is no other way.”
Earlier on Saturday it was reported that Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh is set to deliver a letter in which the government of Israel and Palestinian Authority detail their conditions for peace talks to resume.
The Al-Arabiya network reported that the letter repeats the PA’s previous demands, which are seen by Israeli officials as an excuse to forestall talks. These include a demand that Israel accept the indefensible pre-1967 lines as a basis for future borders, release terrorists who were imprisoned before 1994, and halt settlement construction in the 'disputed territories.'
While these demands are ones the PA has made for a long time, there is a new demand this time around. The PA is now demanding that Israel "respect agreements" signed between the parties. "It does not make sense that only the Palestinians abide by these commitments," it claims.
The entity is also threatening to cancel all agreements signed after 2000 if Israel does not agree to their demands before peace talks.