Daily Israel Report

Abbas Threatens Action on Israeli Construction 'Cancer'

Day before John Kerry arrives for January 'offensive' on Netanyahu to force plan, Abbas threatens diplomatic and legal action.
By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 12/31/2013, 9:53 PM

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas
Flash 90

Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas threatened to take diplomatic and legal action against Israel on Tuesday, a day before US Secretary of State John Kerry arrives to further push peace talks.

In announcing his threats, Abbas called Israeli construction in Judea and Samaria a "cancer," reports AFP.

"We will not remain patient as the settlement cancer spreads, especially in (eastern) Jerusalem, and we will use our right as a UN observer state by taking political, diplomatic and legal action to stop it," declared Abbas.

The PA Chairman went on to accuse Israel of "escalation on all fronts," which he claimed "threaten to destroy the two-state solution." His statement refers to IAF responses to the fatal shooting of an IDF civilian worker outside Gaza last Tuesday, and to ongoing rocket attacks.

Abbas's announcements came during a speech in Ramallah at an event marking the 49th anniversary of his Fatah party. Two weeks ago Abbas met with Hamas Leader Ismail Haniyeh to advance talks on forming a unity government between the two terrorist organizations.

The declaration comes the same day (Tuesday) that Abbas declared an Israeli annexation of the Jordan Valley would constitute a "red line which can not be crossed." Abbas's opposition came in response to a vote on Sunday by Israel's Ministerial Committee on Legislation in favor of a bill to annex the region.

Chief PA negotiator Saeb Erekat similarly condemned the bill, and on Monday declared that peace talks had failed, suggesting that the PA should start seeking statehood recognition at the UN.

Abbas's move comes right as Kerry's team reportedly plans to launch a January diplomatic "offensive" on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, to force him to accept the US security arrangements. Those plans include a full Israeli withdrawal from the Jordan Valley in stages over 10 years.

The US plan has already been rejected by Abbas, who on Tuesday reiterated his rejection of an Israeli security presence in the Jordan Valley.

"We have said that the Palestinian people is the one most in need of security, and is the one who needs guarantees of protection against the aggression of the occupation (Israel) and the settlers," claimed Abbas.