Daily Israel Report

Abbas: The Peace Talks Are Not Dead

Palestinian Authority Chairman rejects reports that peace talks are deadlocked, says they are only at the beginning.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 10/21/2013, 5:12 AM

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas
Flash 90

Reports of the death of the peace process with Israel have been greatly exaggerated, Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas said on Sunday.

In an interview with German television network Deutsche Welle, Abbas said that peace negotiations with Israel have not reached a deadlock, as reported by the Maariv newspaper recently.

Abbas would not give details about the negotiations, but said that each side had discussed proposals offered by the other.

"The fact is that we're still at the beginning. We still have time to negotiate the issues," Abbas told the German network.

Maariv reported last week that the peace talks were at an impasse over the Jordan Valley issue, with Israel demanding the border area remain in Israeli hands, while the PA demands it be part of a future Palestinian state.

On Sunday Maariv reported that Abbas, frustrated with the deadlock in the peace process, has revived his plan to achieve recognition for “Palestine” at United Nations institutions. Abbas had promised U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to give peace talks a chance and put this plan on hold for the time being.

"Claims by some that we have reached a deadlock are incorrect," Abbas told Deutsche Welle.

Abbas told the German network that he spoke to Hamas leaders Khaled Mashaal and Ismail Haniyeh "on a personal level" and that their positions on reconciliation were "not that far apart. There is now some serious discussion about reconciliation [between the PA and Hamas].”

"If Hamas were to agree to new elections, we could be reconciled, unfortunately Hamas has been causing delays on holding an election," Abbas told the network.

On Friday, in a press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Abbas slammed Israeli construction in Judea and Samaria.

Terming the Jewish communities in these regions "illegal", Abbas said Israeli construction had "in fact, increased enormously."

"We ask the Israeli government to stop this activity," he told reporters.

Merkel, too, urged Israel to show "restraint" in the building of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

"We call on Israel to show restraint in the matter of settlement building," she said.

"We have always advocated a two-state solution. We have always advocated aiding and supporting the Palestinian Territories, advancing the peace process, advancing economic development and I am pretty sure we will conduct our foreign policy with this continuity," added Merkel.

Israel and the PA resumed peace talks this past summer, following pressure by Kerry, who travelled to the region several times in an attempt to get the sides talking.

Abbas, who has for years demanded a state based on the borders that existed before the 1967 Six Day War, recently stated that unless Israel meets all of his preconditions, there will be no peace.

Those preconditions include a Palestinian state whose capital is Jerusalem and a release of all PA Arab terrorists from Israeli jails.

Meanwhile, Abbas has continued to incite to terror and hatred of Israel, by honoring and glorifying terrorists who killed dozens of Israelis.

Meanwhile, MK Avigdor Lieberman (Yisrael Beytenu), told Kol Yisrael radio on Sunday that Abbas is not a partner for peace.

Lieberman said that the PA must change its educational curriculum, and added that official PA media outlets are rife with anti-Semitic incitement and glorification of suicide bombers.

In the latest incident of PA incitement, Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) reported on Sunday that the PA has glorified top Gaza terrorist and Hamas founder Ahmad Yassin.

Last Friday, according to PMW, the PA Minister of Religious Affairs Mahmoud Al-Habbash eulogized the arch-terrorist, stating that he was an "exalted national Palestinian figure," an "icon," and that Palestinian children are taught about his "legacy, Jihad, actions, and morality.”