Abbas Refused to Withdraw PA Applications to UN
A senior Palestinian Authority (PA) official said Friday that PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has refused the request of US Secretary of State John Kerry to withdraw the PA's appeal to over 15 international organizations for recognition.
The official, who remains unidentified, told AFP that Kerry attempted to argue with Abbas, telling the leader that the step constitutes a provocation against Israel, but that Abbas ultimately refused to back down.
The official added that Kerry had said that Israel was planning a harsh response against the PA over the move. Abbas said in response that "our requests are not excessive. Israel's threats do not scare anyone, and they can do what they want."
The new report surfaces less than 24 hours after Kerry admitted he was unable to save the talks.
"You can facilitate, you can push, you can nudge, but the parties themselves have to make fundamental decisions to compromise," Kerry said in Algiers at the start of a trip to North Africa on Thursday.
"The leaders have to lead, and they have to be able to see a moment when it's there," he added.
Sanctions include a suspension of high-level contacts between ministers and CEOs, and any contacts with the PA will now be led by the Coordinator of Government Activities in Judea and Samaria, Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai.
It was also decided to freeze the implementation of 3G cellular technology in PA-assigned areas and stop the transfer into Gaza of communications equipment belonging to the PA cellular phone company Watania. Another punitive measure is a freeze on promotion master plans for new communities in Area C.
The PA, meanwhile, issued a number of extreme demands against Israel, including the release of over 1,000 terrorists and a withdrawal to 1949 Armistice lines - essentially demanding concessions on all key issues before negotiations even continue.