Abbas: We will not back down from our demands

PA chairman dismisses the idea of "negotiations for the sake of negotiations" with Israel.

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Dalit Halevi,

PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas
PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas
Reuters

Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday met with Arab correspondents and stressed that the PA would not back down from its goal of establishing a state.

Abbas also declared that he would only be willing to resume talks with Israel if it stops building “settlements”.

"We adhere to our national founding principles that speak of the establishment of our independent state with its capital in East Jerusalem, along the borders of 1967," he told the journalists.

"Anyone who agrees to a Palestinian state without Jerusalem as its capital is a traitor,” declared the PA chairman.

He stressed that the Palestinians will not accept a situation in which Israel does not implement the agreements it signed and will not agree to temporary arrangements that will not lead to the realization of the “legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.”

According to Abbas, the Palestinian state with its capital in eastern Jerusalem will indeed be established, and “we will stand firm on our land without taking into account the size of the challenges facing us, and the next step will require patience, steadfastness, hope and adherence to our rights."

"We are prepared to go to negotiations if the settlements stop and the Israelis will release the fourth group of prisoners, but we do not support negotiations for the sake of negotiations,” he stressed.

Abbas has continuously imposed preconditions on peace talks with Israel, including demanding that Israel halt construction in Judea and Samaria, release terrorists from its prisons and agree to a timeline of no more than a year for talks.

His comments on Saturday come two days after he claimed, during a meeting with Israeli reporters, that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu snubbed his efforts for peace talks.

State Department deputy spokesperson Mark Toner later made clear, however, that the United States is not familiar with Abbas's alleged attempts two months ago to meet with Netanyahu.

"I'm not aware that there were requests on the matter," said Toner. "We are open to any attempt by Abbas to meet with Israeli representatives unconditionally."








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