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Abbas: We'll Never Give Up on a Single Demand

One year after its unilateral UN statehood bid, PA says it is not planning to back down from any of its demands from Israel.
By Elad Benari, Canada
First Publish: 11/29/2013, 9:44 PM

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas
Flash 90

One year after it unilaterally turned to the United Nations and received recognition as a non-member observer state, the Palestinian Authority (PA) is not planning to back down from any of its demands from Israel.

While no official ceremony was scheduled Friday in the PA to mark the November 29, 2012 vote of the UN General Assembly, in anniversary comments published a day earlier, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas pledged to do everything possible to establish a Palestinian state with its capital in eastern Jerusalem.

The comments were published by the official PA news agency Wafa and quoted by AFP on Friday.

Abbas said that he would "never give up an ounce of the Palestinians' demands nor sign a peace agreement that failed to meet the aspirations of the people."

In a survey published this week 50.5 percent of PA Arabs questioned said that they viewed Abbas's decision to renew peace talks with Israel in July as "a mistake" and more than two-thirds expected the negotiations to fail.

In the months that have passed since the UN vote, Abbas has taken several steps to officially name the areas he controls "the State of Palestine", including ordering all of the PA's institutions to stop using the term "Palestinian National Authority” and start using the name “Palestine” and issuing “Palestine” passports.

The PA has threatened several times that if peace talks fail, it’ll turn to international institutions in its capacity as a non-member observer state in the UN and seek to sue Israel in the International Criminal Court.

Senior PLO official Hanan Ashrawi was quoted by AFP as having said that she  wants to take the statehood campaign into the international area right away.

"I don't see why we are always under pressure not to go, and to postpone (diplomatic initiatives)," she told an audience in eastern Jerusalem on Thursday evening.

"That's one problem that has plagued the peace talks -- the exclusion of Palestine from enjoying the protection of (international) law," she claimed.

The PA has committed itself to continue with the current round of peace talks for nine months, but senior PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat said on Wednesday that he preferred not to wait the full nine months before turning to bodies such as the International Criminal Court.

Erekat's team tendered their resignations earlier this month in what they claimed was protest over Israeli construction in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem. Abbas has so far refused to accept the resignations.

Meanwhile on Friday, Nabil Shaath, one of the senior officials in the PLO, declared in a Maariv interview that the PA will remain in talks until all of their terrorist "prisoners" are released - despite admitting that talks have tanked. 

"We have committed to negotiations for a period of 9 months, and by then we hope to see all 104 of our prisoners released," Shaath claimed. He also noted that if not for the release of the more terrorists, PA negotiators would have left the peace talks entirely.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)