Israel’s “peace partner”, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, has once again outright rejected an Israeli demand to ensure a peace agreement that does not harm its security.
In a speech on Sunday to graduates of a university in Jericho, Abbas also clarified that unless all of the PA’s demands are met, there will not be a peace agreement with Israel.
Abbas told the graduates that the eastern border of the State of Palestine along the Dead Sea and the Jordan Valley will be with Jordan, thus essentially rejecting an Israeli demand for a special security arrangement in the Jordan Valley, that would allow IDF soldiers to remain in the region after the establishment of a Palestinian state.
In the past, Abbas indicated his willingness to allow an international UN presence in a future Palestinian state, but stressed that not a single Israeli – civilian or soldier - will be allowed in “Palestine”.
Abbas also told the students that the current negotiations between Israel and the PA are intended to reach a two-state solution based on the borders that existed before June 4, 1967, end “the occupation”, bring about the realization of the independence of the State of Palestine whose capital is Jerusalem, and bring a settlement to all final status issues, including releasing PA Arab terrorists from Israeli jails.
“Unless all the demands and rights of our people are realized" there will not be an arrangement, he stressed.
The speech in Jericho is the latest example of Abbas saying one thing when he speaks in English to Western officials or to Israelis, then turning around and telling his own people the opposite in Arabic.
Most recently, members of the Israeli leftist party Meretz who met with Abbas claimed that the PA Chairman had reassured them that if a peace agreement is reached with Israel, it would bring an end to his people’s demands of the Jewish state. He also assured the Meretz members that the PA would give up its demand for the “right of return”, which would see millions of Arabs who fled Israel in 1948 and their descendants flood Israel.
However, several days later an official statement from Abbas’s Fatah party made it clear that "the main goal of the negotiations with Israel is to establish an independent Palestinian state within the [pre-]1967 borders with its capital Al-Quds (Jerusalem -ed.), and the return of refugees in accordance with resolutions by international legitimate institutions and the Arab Peace Initiative.”
For years, the PA has demanded a state based on the borders that existed before the 1967 Six Day War. Israel refuses, as these borders, which were termed “Auschwitz borders” by the late former Foreign Minister Abba Eban, are indefensible and would guarantee its destruction.
Abbas agreed to resume negotiations with Israel in July after being pressured to do so by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
Kerry asked both sides to keep the details of the negotiations secret in order to give the process a chance to work and, while Israeli officials have remain tight-lipped about the talks, PA officials have made several leaks to the press.
In the most recent leak, a PA official said that during the negotiations, Israel agreed to a wholesale deportation of thousands of Jews from Judea and Samaria and the transfer of their property to PA Arabs. However, the PA official who reported on that Israeli offer added that the PA side had rejected it as not going far enough.
In an earlier leak to the press, the PA's chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, told an Arabic radio station that the US has guaranteed the PA all of its key preconditions in advance of negotiations.
At the same time, PA officials have publicly stated that achieving peace with Israel was impossible, blaming the Jewish state and its “occupation” of Judea and Samaria for this.