PALESTINIAN Authority President, Mahmud Abbas on Monday declared his willingness to work with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, adding that he hoped to get Arab League approval for indirect proximity talks on May 1st.
This is despite the fact that the orders for the eviction of Palestinian ‘infiltrators’ in the West Bank are being acted on, and that the settlement building and the eviction of Palestinian residents in East Jerusalem is continuing.
‘Try me,’ Abbas told Channel 2. ‘I say on behalf of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation, that we are prepared for an agreement.’
He said that US Middle East envoy George Mitchell had put forward ‘various ideas’ on his recent trips to the region, and that the PLO would present its proposal to the Arab League on the first day of next month.
‘We will submit everything that has been presented to us to the Arab Follow-up Committee on the first of next month and we hope there will be a positive response,’ he said, referring to support for talks and for a deal with Israel.
The PA president emphasised that the demand for a halt to Israeli construction in occupied East Jerusalem was not a new one, and that the PA had been calling for such a freeze since the Road Map was compiled, and that had not prevented talks in the past.
He also explained that he could have no objections to speaking to Netanyahu, since Netanyahu was the prime minister ‘chosen by the Israeli people and elected by the Knesset’. On that basis, it was his ‘duty to work with him’.
In response, a grateful Netanyahu could only say that he ‘commends any willingness to resume peace talks’.
Regarding the ‘Law of Return’ for Palestinian refugees, the PA leader stated that this did not mean refugees returning to their original homes or the areas which they had been evicted from.
He emphasised that ‘The Road Map stipulates a “just solution”, so let’s just say, I want a “just solution”.’
He also expressed confidence at being able to ‘explain’ the agreed-upon solution to the refugee issue to the Palestinian people.
Abbas has also made it very clear that Fatah and the PLO are now opposed to any use of revolutionary violence.
Concerning recent calls for a ‘Third Intifada’, or renewed Palestinian resistance in the occupied West Bank, Abbas said he did ‘not want demonstrations that deteriorated into violence’.
He made it clear that he was against any unilateral moves at all by the Palestinians. This is while the Israelis are engaging in unilateral action after unilateral action.
He said that he opposed his Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad’s stated intention to declare a Palestinian state in 2011, saying ‘There will be no unilateral moves, we want an agreement.’
He also expressed confidence that the Arab states would solve the issue of Hamas rule in Gaza and that he was in ‘constant contact’ with the group in a bid for a reconciliation agreement.
The PA president went on to say that he had made an offer to Hamas to take captured Israeli occupation soldier Gilad Shalit off the group’s hands and allow himself to hammer out a swap deal, but to no avail.
This would have been a move that would have delighted the Israeli regime, but Hamas would have none of it.
He recounted how during talks with the previous Israeli government, the two sides had agreed to negotiate ‘based on the 1967 borders with land swaps’. ‘I presented my maps and the former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert responded with his maps,’ he said.
No wonder that the US President Barack Obama has invited Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas to Washington in May.
And the Israeli leader has been so encouraged that he has brought back his old and many times rejected plan for a shadow Palestinian state – a state with temporary boundaries.
The Palestinian people will reject any attempt at an Abbas-led sell-out of their historic struggle.
They will reply to any such attempt at an open betrayal by launching the Third Intifada.