Abbas' Letter to Netanyahu: PA Lost its 'Raison D'etre'

Abbas to tell Netanyahu in letter: Israel’s actions have stripped the PA of its “raison d'etre”, creating a reality which cannot continue.

Contact Editor
Elad Benari,

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Israel’s actions have stripped the Palestinian Authority of its “raison d'etre”, creating a reality which cannot continue, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas will say in a letter to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, AFP reported on Sunday.

The French news agency’s report was based on a copy it saw of the letter. Abbas recently revealed some of the letter's contents in a speech in Cairo.

In the letter, which will be delivered to Netanyahu this week, Abbas warns that “the current status quo cannot continue”, according to the AFP report.

“As a result of actions taken by successive Israeli governments, the Palestinian National Authority no longer has any authority, and no meaningful jurisdiction in the political, economic, territorial and security spheres,” says the letter.

“In other words, the PA lost its raison d'etre which, if it continues, will make it unable to honor its commitments,” Abbas says, referring to the multiple agreements signed with Israel since the 1993 Oslo Accords, which brought about the creation of the Palestinian Authority a year later.

“We want to avoid sliding towards the one-state option, especially as the current status quo cannot continue,” he adds.

Abbas also asks Israel to outline “as soon as possible” its positions on four key issues: the principle of a two-state solution based on the pre-1967 borders, halting all settlement activity, releasing PA prisoners, and the revocation of all decisions which undermine agreements between the two sides since 2000.

“We stand ready to immediately resume negotiations the minute we receive your positive response on these points,” Abbas writes, according to AFP.

He reiterates the PA’s commitment to non-violence, and asks for Israel's understanding over the issue of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

“I reiterate our full commitment to a policy of zero tolerance against violence. At the same token, I expect the government of Israel's understanding that settlement building is eroding the Palestinian people's trust in Israel's commitment to reconciliation and the idea of the two-states solution,” AFP quoted Abbas as saying in the letter.

“The logic is simple: If the Israeli government supports the establishment of a Palestinian state, why does it build on the territory of this state?” he says.

The letter will be delivered to Netanyahu during a rare face-to-face meeting with PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and two other senior officials from Ramallah in Jerusalem later this week.

Tuesday’s meeting will be the first top-level meeting between leaders in Jerusalem and Ramallah in over two years.

Last week it was reported that Netanyahu will seek direct talks with Abbas during the meeting.

According to his office, Netanyahu will propose "raising the level of talks" and holding face-to-face negotiations with Abbas.

"At his meeting next week with the Palestinian delegation, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will propose raising the level of the talks to conduct them directly with Abu Mazen," it said, using Abbas's nom-de-guerre.

"This message will also be passed on through his personal envoy, the lawyer Yitzhak Molcho, who is expected to meet with Abu Mazen and hand him a letter with Israel's position on a future agreement with the Palestinians," the PMO said.

Peace talks between Israel and the PA have been frozen since Jordan hosted a series of “exploratory meetings”. The PA refused to continue to talk after those meetings and Abbas continued to impose preconditions on negotiations.

Abbas may be reacting to the fact that the world - and even the Israeli left and Israel's Arabs - has lost much of its interest in the Palestinian Arab cause, as can be seen by the failed flytilla and March on Jerusalem, one reason being that the Arab Spring has shown where the real problems are.