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Abbas: Without freeze extension, talks to end
Published Monday 06/09/2010 (updated) 08/09/2010 11:22
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BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Palestinian negotiators will continue with peace talks through September but will quit if the settlement freeze is not continued, President Mahmoud Abbas told the Palestinian daily newspaper Al-Ayyam.

"This was made clear to [US] President [Barack] Obama and Secretary of State [Hilary] Clinton and to Israeli Prime Minister [Benjamin Netanyahu], and I told him 'You have to know that if you don’t continue with the settlement halt, we will leave these negotiations'," Abbas was quoted as saying.

With the next round of talks set to take place in Egypt's resort town of Sharm Ash-Sheikh, and all Arab partners in the talks facing continued scrutiny at home following a perceived lack of progress following the first talks in Washington, DC on 1-3 September, Abbas laid out the fears of Palestinians:

"There is now a settlement freeze in place, and there is a fear that this freeze will be canceled now that we have resumed talks; there is a fear that settlements will resume construction everywhere. We say that if the settlement freeze is continued, then we will continue the negotiations, but if the freeze expires, then no one can force us to continue the talks."

When negotiations teams meet again alongside their US mediators, Abbas explained, the issues of borders and security will be first on the table, Al-Ayyam reported.

The primary issue in the first round of bilateral talks, he explained, was to stress the fact that Palestinians were willing to engage in talks. As talks continue, he explained to the Egyptian paper, "we have to start with the borders and then security. The borders is basically what concerns us and security is their [Israel's] concern."

Abbas said his approach to borders would begin with the 1967 lines and demarcating a Palestinian state from there. "Once we have the borders set, we can find a solution for Jerusalem, the water and the settlements," he said, adding that the issue of refugees would be tackled in the next round.

Security, the president continued, would be straightforward for Palestinians. "We will accept no Israeli civilian or military presence in the Palestinian lands" as a final status end point, he explained.

"I told them that if they want assurances for their security we would accept a third party presence for a limited period of time, like what happened in the Sinai, we don't mind having a foreign presence on the condition that it is not Israeli, be they Israeli Christians, Muslims or Druze; Israeli forces mean a continued occupation and this we are against."

Addressing questions as to the role of the United States in the mediation of the talks, Abbas said that "of course the US is biased towards Israel; they have not been our allies since 1993, but we are working with American mediators who say they are allies of Israel and we must deal with that reality, we will not make compromises on our constants.

"I will not give up on any of the constants and if they ask me to make concessions on the right of refugees or the 1967 borders, I will leave. I will not accept it on myself to sign on one single concession," he concluded.

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1 ) Julie / USA
06/09/2010 23:39
I am glad to see the strength and resolve in Abbas' words regarding his constants for the issues of 1967 borders, no israeli presence of any kind allowed anywhere on palestinian lands for security, and complete freeze on settlements. securing 1967 borders with israelis behind the green line will rid all illegal settlers. but now we wait to see if Abbas will act on his words and follow through, diligently keeping his words. however, netanyahu will derail talks by not accepting a settlement freeze

2 ) M.K / Sweden
07/09/2010 00:21
This man is a traitor, no more and no less. If he seriously somehow in his mind thinks that the zionist state will accept basic international law, i.e: "the right of refugees or the 1967 borders", then he is plain stupid! May God help the palestinian people from this ignorance! Amen. Only the end of the zionist state of Israel will bring peace to the region. And its absurd to even think something different. Period.

3 ) Phil / UK
07/09/2010 01:04
#2: You will never get your prayer answered because it is God who brought the Jews back to their land. Not your god, who quivers at the very mention his name. The God of the hole universe, who told his prophets about this day. Ezekiel 37:10-14. And they will never be uprooted again. Amos 9:14-15.

4 ) John / New Zealand
07/09/2010 05:18
4): No, God did nit bring the Jews back; they came without him but with the help of political powers. What he told his prophets was that he had divorced them (Isaiah 50:1; Jeremiah 3:8) because they had broken the covenant, and that he would make a new covenant that had nothing to do with physical land (Jeremiah 31:31-34). That happened 2000 years ago; God made the chosen of every land his bride who will enter the true promised land forever when Jesus the bridegroom returns (Revelation 21:9).

5 ) Jerrold Cohen / USA
07/09/2010 06:00
Phil / UK, we now know the universe to be 00,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 km in size, consisting of galaxies, nebulae, black holes, etc. The Jews of Ezekiel 37 and Amos 9 knew only of the sun, moon and earth, and did not realize the earth went around the sun. They had no concept of the probabilistic nature of the atom. The God they prayed to was false, and their writings are often wishful thinking. Zionism brought the Jews back to Palestine: racist, murderous land-stealing Zionism.

6 ) marie / opt
07/09/2010 06:38
Phil, you need to study your religion a bit more. God dispersed you people from the land you are now occupying and according to your religion, you don't get it back until the messiah comes. Unless Bibi is your messiah, you are acting against your very act by occupying a land God took from you.
Furthermore, you speak of one God who quivers at the name of your God. I thought you Jews believed there is only one God. You and your kind are pitiful. Ignorant thieves who use "God" to justify your sins

7 ) Ali / Amman
07/09/2010 10:20
The alternative to success between Israelis and Palestinians this time around is too dangerous to fathom.
A prayer against this people or that is not prayer but blasphemy.
Those individuals involved directly, indirectly or not involved at all should say a prayer for peace and ask God to strengthen those trying to secure it.



8 ) Phil / UK
07/09/2010 21:19
#4&6: John, what covenant are you talking about? Read the preceding chapter and following verses to Isaiah 50:1. You should then be able to see that God is not saying "I divorced or sold you", he is asking "where is your proof I divorced or sold you"?
Isaiah 11:11. Tell me of another second time when God gathered the remnant of his people from those places? Read Ezekiel 36. God is gathering them in unbelief for his names sake! Marie, please tell me why the Messiah must come first?

9 ) southparkbear / usa
08/09/2010 05:33
vhat do you vont ya shaabiya al bhilistinia? a show-off or a solution?

10 ) John / New Zealand
08/09/2010 11:16
8): Phil, the covenant is the marriage of Israel to God, described in Ezekiel 16:1-8 as being the result of the call of Abram. Good try, but the last part of Is. 50:1 says he did divorce her, and this is confirmed in Jer. 3:8 and Hosea 2:2. You have separated Is.11:11 from its context, which is about Jesus the root of Jesse's first and second coming. God gathers no one in unbelief and never has, and any unbeliever is unrecognized (Matt 7:21-23). For the remnant see Rom 9:27 & 11:5.
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