Abbas to give Israel deadline in upcoming UN meeting: sources
Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas attends a meeting with his Russian counterpart at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow on September 22, 2015. (AFP/Ivan Sekretarev)
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Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas does not intend to announce the termination of the Oslo Accords or to declare Palestine an occupied state during his upcoming speech at the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, contrary to previous reports, according to Palestinian sources in Ramallah.
These sources told The Times of Israel on Monday, however, that Abbas does plan to give Israel a “deadline” — as yet unspecified — for “meeting its obligations” lest the Palestinians go ahead and announce the Oslo Accords null and void.
Under the 1993 agreement, the Palestinian Authority administers civil and security control over the West Bank’s major cities, which are delineated as Area A. Area B is under PA civil control, but with joint security control with Israel while Area C — the bulk of the West Bank — is under Israeli control.
The possible announcement comes after weeks of reports in the Palestinian press that Abbas was prepared to drop a “bombshell” during his UN speech.
According to a report in the Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar, the Palestinians have been sending messages to Israel on the contents of the speech and Abbas’s intentions.
The newspaper published an article Monday, based on a PA document (in Arabic), describing the contents of a September 9 meeting between former Israeli minister Meir Sheetrit and Abbas in Ramallah some two weeks ago during which the PA leader asked Sheetrit to convey to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the Palestinians did not intend to escalate matters with unilateral decisions, but did plan to issue sharp statements.
The newspaper also reported that PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and PA Civil Affairs Minister Hussein al-Sheikh informed Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Major-General Yoav Mordechai that Abbas would announce that “Israel could not be a partner for peace if it did not meet its obligations within an established timeframe.”
Similarly, Abbas will also suggest that Netanyahu announce that the Israeli government is prepared to “move forward with a permanent peace process with the Palestinians.” Mordechai asked that this message be transferred via chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat to Israeli Interior Minister Silvan Shalom, who was also charged with leading any talks with the Palestinians after Israeli general elections in March.
Mordechai also expressed his appreciation to Nidal Abu Dohan, the commander of the Palestinian national security forces, on the security coordination between the two sides and expressed Israel’s willingness to build two new Palestinian cities in the West Bank.
The report in Al-Akhbar also mentions a possible meeting between Netanyahu and Abbas on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, following conversations between the Israeli prime minister and the PA President (and Israeli President Reuven Rivlin) after the July terror attack in Duma in which three members of the Dawabsha family were killed.
Mordechai, according to the report, surprised the Palestinian officials by telling them that Netanyahu wanted to postpone the meeting with Abbas until after the UNGA, as per a request by the Americans. This comes after the Haaretz daily reported on Sunday that US Secretary of State John Kerry pressured the Palestinians to cancel the Abbas-Netanyahu meeting, and Abbas complied. The State Department denied the Haaretz report.
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