Abbas: Withdrawal First, 'Right of Return' Later

Abbas suggests that UN resolution is meant to force Israel to concede territory and then force millions of "Palestinian refugees" on it.

Dalit Halevi,

Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas
Issam Rimawi/Flash 90

Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday explained the strategy behind the PA’s United Nations resolution, submitted on Wednesday, which seeks to impose an Israeli withdrawal from Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem by 2017.

In his remarks, Abbas hinted that the PA seeks to first of all force Israel to concede territory, and then will force Israel to accept millions of “Palestinian refugees” who fled Israel during the 1948 War of Independence and their descendants.

"Yesterday we submitted a draft resolution to the Security Council that aims to set a time limit to end the Israeli occupation of the lands of the State of Palestine...This move was made as part of our political campaign to release the land and end the occupation of the Palestinian state with its capital in eastern Jerusalem...” he said.

"The draft resolution stresses the contents of the decision of the recognition of Palestine by the UN in 2012, and in particular the emphasis that the two-state solution must be based on the borders of June 4, 1967, Jerusalem will be the capital of the two states with eastern Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state, formulating a just and agreed solution to the problem of the Palestinian refugees in accordance with the Arab peace initiative, the complete cessation of settlement activities, formulating security arrangements that will ensure the presence of a third international party, an agreement for an international conference to launch negotiations, on the condition that the negotiation period not exceed one year and that the end of the Israeli occupation of the state of Palestine will be before the end of 2017,” continued Abbas.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu responded on Thursday to the PA’s unilateral move at the UN, saying Abbas "thinks he can threaten us with unilateral steps. He does not understand that they will result in a Hamas takeover in Judea and Samaria, just as previously occurred in Gaza."

"We will not allow this to happen. We will never agree to unilateral diktat. We will always safeguard our security. This is our lesson both from the days of the Maccabees and in our day," he continued.

The United States expressed its dissatisfaction with the text of the resolution on Thursday, saying it would not support the resolution and hinting at a veto.

"We wouldn't support any action that would prejudge the outcome of the negotiations or would set a specific deadline for withdrawal of security forces," said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.

"We've been clear about what our principles are, and the fact that we could support certain forms of resolution, but those discussions are private," Psaki added.




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