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Abbas: A Peace Agreement Would End the Conflict

"We won't ask to return to Jaffa or Acre," PA Chairman tells members of the Meretz party.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 8/23/2013, 2:12 AM

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas
Flash 90

Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is claiming that if a peace agreement is reached with Israel, it would bring an end to his people’s demands of the Jewish state.

Abbas made the comments during a meeting in Ramallah with members of the leftist Meretz party, and they were reported by Channel 2 News.

"I know your concerns, but guarantee that at the conclusion of successful negotiations, we undertake to end all the demands. We will not ask to return to Yafo, Akko and Tzfat,” he said.

Members of Meretz said that Abbas told them a “fair agreement” will end the conflict with Israel and that a “peace agreement with Israel will be final and binding." He did not, however, specify what is meant by a fair peace agreement and did not commit to the fact that PA would give up its demand for the “right of return”.

He added that he believes all obstacles to peace could be overcome and resolved within six months, though he said that at this point there was little progress in the talks. Abbas made it clear, however, that he would not agree to temporary borders and would only sign an agreement that would allow the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state alongside Israel.

The PA chairman criticized Israel’s behavior around the resumption of negotiations, saying, according to Channel 2, "I wanted there to be daily meetings or at most every two days, because our time is limited, but Israel refused." He also claimed that Israel had refused to allow active American involvement in the discussions.

Abbas expressed disappointment at the fact that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has not met with him and told the Meretz members that he sent Netanyahu a message several times, indicating his readiness to meet with him face to face, as he had done with former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (who offered Abbas an unprecedented offer to which Abbas has yet to respond).

The meeting between Abbas and the Meretz members comes several days after the latest meeting between Israeli and PA negotiators, as part of the current round of peace talks.

So far, details of the discussions between the sides have not been revealed, apparently consistent with a request from Washington last week for a strict news blackout.

At the same time, the PA’s chief negotiator Saeb Erekat  revealed, in an interview with the Nazareth-based Arabic language A-Shams radio station on Tuesday, that the PA would not have returned to the negotiating table with Israel had it not received a letter of assurances from the United States, guaranteeing its main negotiating preconditions.

Erekat said in the interview that the U.S. had assured the PA in writing that talks would recognize the indefensible pre-1967 borders as the basis of a Palestinian state, would deal with all core issues (Jerusalem, refugees, borders, security and water), would take place within six  to nine months and would not allow for any interim solutions before a final status agreement is signed.