Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel on Wednesday of trying to undermine the two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Abbas, speaking on the fifth anniversary of the death of Yasser Arafat, noted his people were committed to the two-state solution but Israel sought to derail it and was putting "obstacles" in its way.
Abbas again called for a halt to Israeli settlement building before he would resume peace talks with Israel. Addressing supporters of his Fatah party in Ramallah, Abbas said United Nations resolutions called for there to be a "clear framework" for talks to end over 60 years of conflict. "We cannot go to negotiations without a framework. And we say the framework is U.N. resolutions, meaning a return to the 1967 borders," Abbas said. "What's new in this demand?
"Also, we want a full stop to settlements, including natural growth and in Jerusalem," the PA leader said. Abbas added that "resuming negotiations requires Israeli government commitment to the framework of the peace process, which includes halting settlement activity, including natural growth and which includes Jerusalem." "Without this, I will not agree," he told his followers.
In his speech at Ramallah, he did not want to talk again about his wish not to seek a second term as president in a January election. "On this occassion, I don't want to talk again about my wish not to run in the upcoming elections," Abbas said, according to Reuters. "As I said in my speech, there will be other decisions ... that I will take in light of coming developments," he said.
He also said his hand was extended to rival Hamas for reconciliation and urged the Gaza rulers to sign an Egyptian proposal to end their division. "We have agreed to the Egyptian document and we call upon Hamas to accept it without procrastination," he said. "Our hand is extended for reconciliation."