Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has sent multiple messages to United States President Barack Obama threatening to quit, Channel 10 news reported Monday night. Abbas blamed Israel and the U.S. for pushing him to desperation, saying negotiations with Israel were at a stand-still and Obama had “abandoned” him.
Abbas also mentioned the serious hit to his popularity caused by the delay of a United Nations vote on the Goldstone Report. The report accused Israel of war crimes in connection with the three-week Cast Lead counterterror offensive in Gaza.
Obama responded to the threats by calling Abbas and calming him, according to the report.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's spokesman said Monday night that Netanyahu could in no way be blamed for the standstill in Israel-PA talks. “Netanyahu has taken a serious of steps aimed at renewing the peace process, as the American government well knows,” he said. Unlike Netanyahu, Abbas and other PA leaders have taken an increasingly tough stance and added previously unheard-of preconditions to talks, he said.
"The prime minister calls on the Palestinians to renew negotiations immediately, without preconditions,” he concluded.
Coalition head Ze'ev Elkin said Abbas's reaction to Netanyahu was proof of the Israeli prime minister's success. “Apparently Abu Mazen [Abbas -ed.] had reason to prefer [Kadima head Tzipi] Livni to Netanyahu,” he said. Netanyahu “knows how to stand up for Israel's national interests and security,” he added.
"Abu Mazen needs to understand that Binyamin Netanyahu is the prime minister, and will be the prime minister for years to come,” Elkin said. “Netanyahu's government reflects the will of the decisive majority of the Israeli public.”