PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas Reuters

Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who is often touted by the West as a “peace partner” of Israel’s, recently declared that there are six million “Palestinian refugees”, and that he is one of them.

Abbas’s comments were made in an interview with the Egyptian daily Akhbar Al-Yawm, published last week and translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

In the interview, Abbas reiterated that he did not recognize Israel as a Jewish state, because this contradicted the Palestinian interests by “harming Israeli Arabs and preventing the return of the Palestinian refugees.” He said that there were six million

"Working with Israel is very difficult, if not impossible. We are conducting mutual relations with people who don't believe in peace. You ask for peace, and they do not want it...,” he charged in the interview.

“[Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu said to me: ‘I want [Israel to be responsible for] security on the Jordanian border for 40 years.’ I pretended to have misheard him, and asked: ‘How many?!’ He said: ‘40 years’. I bid him farewell and said, ‘Let's shake hands [in farewell].’ I left his home and said to him, ‘This is occupation.’ I haven't seen him since...,” Abbas continued.

"In principle, I do not oppose 1:1 land swaps. Take territory of known value, and give territory of the same value,” said the PA Chairman, who placed “a basic condition for land swaps – Israel must recognize the June 4, 1967 border at a 1:1 ratio. For example, it is inappropriate for them to receive land in Jerusalem and give me [land] in the Negev [in exchange]."

"Netanyahu once told me that it was an 'idea from hell,' from his perspective, for him to give me the Triangle (the area of east-central Israel, including the cities of Tayibe and Tira -ed.) and everything in it,” said Abbas. “[The Triangle] was occupied in 1949 and at that time it had 38,000 residents. Today, it probably has about 400,000 residents. I said: ‘I will not take anyone. Forget it, because honestly, I will not allow, or force, any Arab to relinquish his Israeli citizenship.’ You might be surprised, but this is important. As far as I'm concerned, this is sacred.”

He continued, “For example, in the fourth round of the release of our Palestinian prisoners, 15 of the 30 are 1948 Arabs [Israeli Arabs]. They told me: Take them to [Judea and Samaria] and they will relinquish their citizenship. I told them: This is impossible. They should return to their homes and retain their citizenship. As far as I'm concerned, Arabs remaining citizens of Israel is a sacred matter...”

"I don't want to destroy Israel and do not call for its destruction. We want to live with it in security and peace, but only after I receive my rights and you receive yours... In effect, we are approached by very concerned people who say: ‘Why aren't you talking to Israel and Netanyahu?’ And I respond: ‘I am ready to do it tomorrow morning. Bring him [here], I am ready. [But] he left and never returned.’"

Abbas referred to his latest unilateral bid at the United Nations, where he is trying to force a deadline on Israel to “end the occupation” and withdraw from Judea and Samaria.

"We want a state in the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital, and we want to [set] a date to end the occupation. That is all we want. If Israel agrees to this now, we will go to negotiations. [But] they use deception and excel at media fraud. They claim that I am going to the Security Council in order to obtain a state, but all the [Security] Council does is give me a certificate; it doesn't give me territory,” he said, adding, “I will take the certificate and then go negotiate with them in order to realize it...”

"The Americans have always pressured, and will continue to pressure, to prevent us [Palestinians] from addressing the Security Council,” said Abbas. “Even though we are small and simple people, and need the entire world, including the U.S., we say: No! [to dropping our UN bid]. This has happened several times. When we addressed the General Assembly, they [the U.S.] fought us for three whole months, and even when we joined 20 international institutions, they [still] fought us, but that doesn't matter. It is more important that when we feel the need to say no, we say no.”

"If we cannot get what we want, there are other steps [we can take]. The first step is joining many international organizations, such as the International Criminal Court and International Court of Justice,” he continued. “There are 520 international organizations, and [joining them] will surely bother everyone. If there is an appeal to the ICC, and a Palestinian files a lawsuit against an Israeli, they [the Israelis] get scared, because they are wanted and cannot travel."

"This step won't do much good, but we have two other steps: The first is ending all security coordination between us and them [i.e. Israel]. Currently, there is security coordination, and the comrades in Hamas see this as something they can accuse us about, but they themselves coordinated [with Israel] in 2012 during the era of [Egyptian president Mohammad] Morsi. We have been committed to this security coordination since the Oslo Accords. Now, when there is nothing between us, there is no problem to end the coordination, and there will be no ties, no security, and no talks with anyone.

"We have not benefited from the security coordination, and I want to end it. I am working to defend my people and spare them from harm. In the past, Netanyahu backed down when I spoke of ending the security coordination,” said Abbas.

He then reiterated, as he has several times in the past, that the PA "cannot recognize a Jewish state. We will stand against this enterprise, not out of obstinacy, but because it contradicts our interests.”

The interview is the latest example of Abbas’s “double talk”, of which many examples have been presented over the years.

In one example, Abbas told Israeli television that he is willing to sit down for negotiations with Israel and establish a Palestinian state alongside Israel, and said that, despite originally being from Tzfat, he did not have a desire to go back there.

After his remarks sparked huge protests in Gaza, Abbas retracted his statements. His own spokesman said that the Palestinian Authority certainly has not given up the demand that Israel allow the immigration of several million foreign Arabs who claim Israel is their home.

Abbas then made it clear to the Arab world, through an Egyptian television network, that although he personally would give up living in Tzfat, “the right of return is holy and no one can deny it.”

Much of the PA’s incitement against Israel is disseminated through Abbas’s own media. Examples of incitement include the glorification of Nazism and the lionization of Adolf Hitler, as well as programs on official PA television featuring heavily-stereotyped Jews as villains (and encouraging violence against them), and various TV and radio shows which literally wipe the Jewish state off the map.