PA Report: Abbas Angry at Kerry, Threatened to End Talks
Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas became very angry during a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry last week and threatened to end the negotiations with Israel, NRG/Maariv reported on Wednesday, citing the PA-based Al-Quds newspaper.
According to the report, Abbas fumed when, during a meeting with Kerry in Paris, the top U.S. diplomat presented a new offer which, according to senior PA officials, adopted the Israeli positions for a peace agreement.
These officials told Al-Quds that Kerry presented Abbas with a paper which states that the PA would be required to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, accept a Palestinian state that does not include the Jordan Valley and agree to annex ten Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria as part of the Palestinian state.
While all these requirements were enough to anger Abbas, the PA Chairman reportedly became furious when he found out that the Americans also demand that he accept that the capital of the new Palestinian state will be the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina, and not all of eastern Jerusalem as he has demanded for years.
At this point, the officials told Al-Quds, Abbas described Kerry’s proposals as “madness” and proceeded to threaten to “turn the table” and stop being “flexible” in the talks. Abbas also reportedly fumed when he discovered that, contrary to his recent suggestion of NATO forces, Kerry does not intend to have a third party be responsible for security in the new Palestinian state, thus hinting that Israeli troops would be left in “Palestine”.
The newspaper also reported that in order to appease Abbas and get him to continue the negotiations, the Americans invited him to a meeting at the White House with President Barack Obama. The Al-Quds report has not been verified by other sources.
Abbas met with Kerry twice in Paris last week in what a U.S. official later described as "constructive" talks.
A PA official, however, said last Friday that ideas proposed by Kerry in Paris could not be accepted "as the basis for a framework accord... as they do not take into account the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people."
Abbas himself told journalists after the meeting that Kerry’s attempts to forge an agreement on a framework for peace talks with Israel had so far failed but that the efforts are “extremely serious.”
Few details have been made public of Kerry’s proposed framework, though Thomas Friedman of the New York Times published some alleged details of the plan, which, he said, will call for a phased Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria based on the 1949 lines, with "unprecedented" security arrangements in the strategic Jordan Valley.
The Israeli withdrawal will not include certain settlement blocs, but Israel will compensate the Arab side for this with Israeli territory.
Last week, U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro declared that the PA will be obligated to recognize Israel as a Jewish state under the framework agreement, a long-standing demand by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
Nevertheless, a senior PLO official was quoted as saying last week that despite Abbas’s earlier refusal to recognize Israel, he was now prepared to do so.