Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s speech at the AIPAC policy conference “offered nothing new”, Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s spokesman declared on Tuesday night.
The spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, added, “Netanyahu's continued demand to recognize Israel as a Jewish state is aimed at wasting time and evading a real peace agreement, a just and lasting peace.”
He further stated that Netanyahu’s demand has already been rejected by the PA and the entire Arab world, and his continuing to insist on it "is intended to thwart American efforts and to undermine the negotiations."
Abu Rudeineh added that the PA’s position is clear and calls for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with its capital in Jerusalem. The PA’s negotiator works to maintain the vital national interests of the Palestinian people, he declared.
Earlier, Abbas's Fatah party lost no time in calling Netanyahu’s speech "an official announcement of a unilateral end to negotiations."
Nabil Shaath, a member of Fatah's central committee and a senior official in the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), told AFP that Netanyahu's statements "contravene all the rules of the peace negotiations agreed with the Americans."
Like Abu Rudeineh, Shaath also said that Netanyahu’s demand for recognition was "totally rejected."
In January, Shaath accused Israel of "imposing its agenda" on the talks, listing the two issues of recognition of the Jewish state and security in the Jordan Valley area.
Shaath also admitted last November that the PA was only remaining in the peace talks to secure the release of more terrorists prisoners as part of Israeli "gestures" to further the negotiations.
On Monday, Abbas continued to impose preconditions on peace talks, this time telling MK Zehava Galon (Meretz) that he “will put the keys on the table and turn to international organizations” if Israel does not freeze construction in Judea and Samaria.
This is not the first that Abbas has imposed preconditions on talks with Israel and threatened that unless all these preconditions are met, there will be no peace.
It is also not the first time that the PA threatens that if peace talks fail, it will go to the United Nations and unilaterally seek statehood recognition there.