Abbas: We will declare state within year

11/08/2010 20:23

From Ma'an News Agency:

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (Ma'an) -- Palestinians will have the final word if negotiations with Israel fail, President Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday.

Speaking at the first Sir Bani Yas Forum on Peace and Global Security in Abu Dhabi, Abbas said Palestinians had complied with a number of international resolutions, while Israel had not complied with any. "We met our obligations, but you [Israel] did not, and so we will be discharged from obligations."

The president talked at length about the different stages of negotiations during the tenure of former US President George W Bush and current President Barack Obama. He recalled that there was agreement with Bush to deploy NATO forces on the borders of the Palestinian state.

Abbas told the forum that Palestinians had reached an agreement with Israel on borders and security when former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was in office.

However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected all agreements reached with Olmert and "created obstacles when he insisted on staying in the Palestinian territories and demanded recognition of Israel as a Jewish state," Abbas said.

Abbas reiterated his refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. "There are one and a half million Arabs in Israel, and if we agree on Israel as Jewish state, that will be enough reason to expel them."

Commenting on Netanyahu's refusal to stop settlement activities despite demands from the international community, the president said "We will not be deceived by a moratorium, or half a moratorium, or a quarter of a moratorium. If they want to resume negotiations, settlement construction must stop completely, then we will discuss borders and security.

“If Israel refuses to freeze settlements, we will ask the US to propose a solution and submit it to both sides. If we fail, we will go to the UN Security Council seeking international recognition of a Palestinian state. Obama already said there would be a Palestinian state in a year and it will be a member state of the UN. We have six or seven options which we will take consecutively."

Direct talks, relaunched in Washington on 2 September, reached an impasse within weeks when Netanyahu refused to extend restrictions on settlement construction on land which would be a Palestinian state in a peace agreement.

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