Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday said that he supports a demilitarized Palestinian state, the security of which will be maintained by police forces and not military forces, Kan News reported.
According to the report, Abbas made the remarks at a meeting with Israeli academics at his headquarters in Ramallah.
"I want a demilitarized Palestinian state along the 1867 borders without an army, I want unarmed policemen to hold clubs and not weapons. Instead of planes and tanks, I prefer to set up schools and hospitals and allocate budgets and resources to social institutions," said the PA chairman, according to Kan News, which cited two sources who attended the meeting.
One of Abbas’ associates confirmed to Kan that Abbas indeed made the remarks during the meeting with the academics. Opposition leader MK Tzipi Livni commented on the report and tweeted that Abbas "indeed agreed to the demilitarization of the Palestinian state in the negotiations I had with him."
The report comes as the Trump administration continues the work on its peace plan for Israel and the PA. Recent reports have said President Donald Trump will unveil the plan during his speech to the UN General Assembly on September 25, though that has not yet been confirmed.
Abbas has refused to consider the Trump administration an honest broker for negotiations since Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last December.
PA officials have repeatedly rejected the Trump administration’s peace proposal, claiming it was coordinated with Israel, even though it has not yet been unveiled.
The Arabic newspaper Asharq al-Awsat recently published what it said were the details of Trump’s peace plan, though it cited unnamed French officials as its sources.
One of the points of the plan, according to that unconfirmed report, was indeed a demilitarized Palestinian state as Abbas claims to be accepting.