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Abbas Demands Three-Month Building Freeze For Talks

PA leader repeats threats to disband PA if talks collapse, says Israel has to freeze Judea Samaria construction as precondition to talks.
By Shlomo Pyotrkovsky, Ari Yashar
First Publish: 4/22/2014, 6:04 PM

Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas
Reuters

Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas repeated his threats to disband the PA on Tuesday if peace talks remain stuck in their current dead-end. He further demanded his price for continuing the talks: a three-month construction freeze.

Speaking to Israeli journalists at his offices in Ramallah ahead of the April 29 deadline for the nine-month peace talks initiated by US Secretary of State John Kerry, Abbas discussed the talks which hit a dead-end after he breached conditions by applying to 15 international conventions at the start of the month.

"If the peace talks end and the doors are closed, the state of Israel will get the general responsibility for maintaining the financial situation of the Palestinians from all perspectives - health, education, etc.," claimed Abbas.

Abbas added that Israel "will do that as it did until 1994. Additionally, it will take responsibility for security. The great responsibility for this situation will be on Israel." 

This latest implied threat to disband the PA comes after a series of similar threats and point-blank denials by PA officials.

The PA leader emphasized that his organization is interested in the continuing the talks, but demanded three months of drafting limitations for the talks, during which time all Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria would be frozen.

A construction freeze was not part of the current round of talks, which aside from Abbas's breach of conditions were led to a dead-end by the PA's adamant refusal to recognize Israel as the Jewish state.

Abbas also addressed the fourth and final batch of terrorist releases which Israel cancelled after the PA declared it would walk away from talks at the end of April.

The release of terrorists was contingent on substantive progress in talks, but according to Abbas, Israel was obligated to release the last batch of terrorists given that the PA had "paid a price" for their release. That price, Abbas claimed, was refraining from requesting to join international organizations during the nine months of the talks.