Abbas: Israeli Interests in Jordan Valley 'Economic'
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas said Monday at a Fatah Committee meeting in Ramallah that "after all of the rounds of negotiations are completed there may not be tangible results, which may lead to certain developments in the near future. Israel has already said that 'we have just released prisoners and we cannot bear the consequences of this move, so we will expand construction'" of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.
Abbas warned that those who have "made the connection between the prisoner release and the settlements" will cause negotiations to fail, and "blow up the situation." Netanyahu has already stated that PA officials have known all along that Israel was renewing construction efforts for Jewish Judea and Samaria residents, and has accused Abbas of creating an "artificial crisis" for political reasons.
The threatening comments follow a furor in the Knesset earlier Monday as Arab MKs threatened a third intifada and hurled insults at the political assembly for discussing Jewish rights to prayer on the Temple Mount. The offending MKs were eventually thrown out of the hall.
Abbas also rejected Israel's stance that an Israeli military presence is crucial in the Jordan Valley to maintain Israelis' safety and security in the event of a two-state solution. He claimed that Israel's interests in the region are economic, from a reported $620 million investments in infrastructure in the area, including date plantations, artificial lakes for raising crocodiles, chicken farms, and more.
PA Arabs have already taken public issue more than once over Israel's demands for security, calling the simple request for peace "hardline." The issue is expected to be among the foremost in talks later this week between PA Arab and Israeli leaders in separate meetings with US Secretary General John Kerry.