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Abbas tells Israeli TV: No intifada on my watch
Published Thursday 01/11/2012 (updated) 04/11/2012 12:46
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Abbas says he cannot negotiate while continuous settlement building
eats up land needed for an independent Palestinian state. (Reuters/File)
JERUSALEM (Reuters) -- President Mahmoud Abbas assured Israelis that he will not allow a new uprising against the occupation, in an interview with Israel's Channel 2 TV on Thursday.

Some Israeli government officials have voiced skepticism about Abbas's ability to deliver a peace accord, after he lost control of Gaza to Hamas in a brief civil war in 2007.

Abbas sought to play up his security control over Palestinian-run areas of the West Bank, saying that as long as he was in power "there will no armed, third armed Intifada (revolt against Israel). Never."

"We don't want to use terror. We don't want to use force. We don't want to use weapons. We want to use diplomacy. We want to use politics. We want to use negotiations. We want to use peaceful resistance. That's it."

Abbas was also regarded as making a symbolic concession to Israel, saying he had no permanent claim on the town from which he was driven as a child during the 1948 war to found Israel.

Speaking to the top-rated Israeli television newscast, Abbas was asked whether he wanted to live in Safed, his boyhood town in the Galilee region of what had been British-ruled Palestine and is now northern Israel.

"I visited Safed before once. But I want to see Safed. It's my right to see it, but not to live there," Abbas told Channel 2, speaking in English from the West Bank city of Ramallah.

"Palestine now for me is '67 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital. This is now and forever ... This is Palestine for me. I am (a) refugee, but I am living in Ramallah. I believe that (the) West Bank and Gaza is Palestine and the other parts (are) Israel."



Palestinian refugees demand that as many as five million of their compatriots be granted the right to return to lands in Israel that they fled or were driven from in 1948.

Israel rules this out, and argues the refugees should resettle in a future Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, territories it occupied in the 1967 war.

Ceding the right of return?

In Gaza, Hamas denounced Abbas, saying he spoke only for himself.

"No Palestinian would accept ceding the right of our people to return to homes, villages and towns from which they were displaced," said Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri.

"If Abu Mazen (Abbas) does not want Safed, Safed would be honored not to host people like him."

Palestinian memoranda leaked to the media last year showed that Abbas had, during talks with the previous, centrist Israeli government, been willing to concede on some core demands -- including by accepting a cap on refugees admitted to Israel.

The televised remarks also appeared aimed at influencing Israelis ahead of their Jan. 22 legislative election.

Polls currently predict an easy win for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a rightist who says he wants to restart talks with Abbas but who has championed Jewish settlement of East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Abbas says he cannot negotiate while continuous settlement building eats up land needed for an independent Palestinian state.

Netanyahu's office had no immediate comment on the interview, which was aired as the prime minister returned from a visit to France.

Paul Hirschson, a spokesman for Israel's Foreign Ministry, said the onus remained on Abbas to return to negotiations:

"If he (Abbas) wants to see Safed, or anywhere else in Israel, for that matter, we would happily show him anywhere. But there has to be a desire to move forward on the peace process."

As Abbas is not an Israeli citizen, Hirschson added, "he doesn't have a right to live in Israel. We agree on that."
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1 ) Nour / 1-State
01/11/2012 22:46
This small man surely does not speak on behalf of the Palestinian refugees, or Palestinians living in the West Bank. Abbas' term expired in 2009. Therefore he is an illegitimate president and a dictator. Abbas once said that Arab rejection of the racist, unjust partition plan was "a mistake". As if that wasn't enough an insult to the thousands of Palestinians who died for our cause, he comes back with these groveling, shameful remarks about Safad. Abbas can go to hell, we will go back to PS.

2 ) Amira / Canada
01/11/2012 23:18
He considers legitimate defense as "use of terror"?? Palestinians should revolt and ask Abbas to be removed and replaced with a Palestinian who will defend Palestinians' rights and dignity.

3 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
01/11/2012 23:53
As everyone knows, the core of this conflict is whether or not there will ever be a (second) Palestinian nation (that WE recognize) west of that Jordan River. I can absolutely, positively say we will never do it. We don't say so directly (and it's high time we did ... we've deceived the Palestinians and world long enough) but the entire W. Bank (and eventually Gaza, too) is our land. The so-called "Mahatma Ghandi" method--peaceful resistance--is going to show the same results (cont.)

4 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
02/11/2012 00:06
as the intifida method: Not a damn thing. So all the politics, diplomacy, international pressure, etc. applied to us is not going to do what it did for India when it obtained independence from the British in 1947 just before we declared it a year later. We have to be honest with everybody. All_h has commanded us in our sacred Torah commandments NOT to mislead or deceive (that's called putting a "stumbling block" before someone). The word is so tired and sick and sick and tired of this.

5 ) Omar / USA
02/11/2012 03:14
Abbas is a traitor and a coward. Time for an intifada, not only on Israel, but on Abbas and his lap dog fayyad.

6 ) ian / australia
02/11/2012 04:58
Particularly effective IMHO is the stuff about Safed. Personal, touching, infinitely reasonable, almost forgiving in a Christian way, and reassuring. Think about it. Israelis vote. They also watch TV. The hysterical fearmongering of Likud/Yisrael Beitenu/Shas/New Kach etc. is increasingly alienating to moderate Israelis, who to a large degree support two states...and there on mainstream TV is grandfatherly Abu Mazen reassuring them that a Palestinian neighbour is nothing to fear. That he is

7 ) ian / australia
02/11/2012 05:04
(contd.) realistic on refugees, understands the fears and harbours no "death-wish", no thoughts of revenge or ill-will. And US citizens vote too. And if a nexus can be created between "Israel" and "yuck", which is automatic and widespread (as it was with Apartheid) then the policies of Israel's great enabler might change to reflect the feeling of the people. ("Netanyahu"/"Yuck!" is well established, due entirely to Bibi and his many visits. It just needs broadening...and President Abbas

8 ) ian / australia
02/11/2012 05:05
(contd.) coming across as a whole lot more likable and appealing, as he does, though the bar is admittedly set very low, is a good start.

9 ) Ashraf / USA
02/11/2012 05:49
1) Nour/One State. Abbas is weak. You can't negotiate from weakness. It is pathetic to see him lower himself and our noble cause. It's time to raise the celling. He should be demanding all of Palestine. (Israel won't be around in 20-30 years). Reuters got it wrong, its not just the refugees who say they have aright to return, international law and the world says so. And its not true that Israel would even allow the refugees to return to Gaza or the West Bank in a future state.

10 ) Mel / Gaza
02/11/2012 07:11
Shame on you Abbas! He definitely doesn't speak for us the PALESTINIANS!!!

11 ) shirley / australia
02/11/2012 10:28
Abbass should concentrate on going to UNGA and stop useless speeches and kicking the UNGA vote can down the road a vote could have happened last yr and again jan and it seems still no vote date set instead chasing EU votes useless will not defy US and alraedy sided with Isreal with trade upgrade Ababss should stop trying to fool pals by chasing these votes unnecassary and ptetend EU cares as for Ians commentsUS neither candidate supports pal stateand majority Isreal dont support 2 states

12 ) Arnold / Canada
02/11/2012 12:39
I think that all the residents of Israel and Palestine should leave the land and emigrate to other countries. Then when everyone is out the land should be bombed out of existence. Then neither group will have it to fight over.

13 ) ian / australia
02/11/2012 13:57
#1, #2, #5, #9, #10 With respect, you (IMHO) are nuts (#3-#4 is also nuts, but in a different way). Unless you're about 10 (and plan to live to 90) your approach will achieve nothing...which you'll ever see. By holding out for everything that's theoretically "yours", or for a justice so pristine and absolute it's hardly of this world, you risk ending up with nothing. Abu Mazen is at least working for something, which in all likelihood he won't live to see, but nevertheless something which will

14 ) ian / australia
02/11/2012 13:58
(contd.) alleviate (some) suffering and G-d knows, might even be achievable. Peace.

15 ) FAROUK / HAIFA.PS
02/11/2012 14:00
ABBAS AND THE P.A. ARE PART OF THE ZIONIST PROJECT.ONLY WAY IS RESISTANCE.... GET RID OF YOUR CORRUPT LEADERS FATAH.

16 ) ahmed / usa
02/11/2012 14:06
this is why hamas is better despite their shortcomings

17 ) FATAH / FATAH
02/11/2012 14:41
long live chairman abbas

18 ) FARIS / .PS
02/11/2012 14:43
HE'D SELL THE BLOOD OF HOW MANY MARTYRS...........

19 ) ian / australia
02/11/2012 15:33
#11 "...majority Isreal dont support 2 states" 70% is the figure usually given for Israelis who support two states. It doesn't mean much when the government is opposed and it's a vague, "in principle" position but that's what polls consistantly show. "...US neither candidate supports pal state" Well Obama and Mittens both say they do, but if you have looked into their hearts and think they lying, you might be right. But I'll just repeat, public opinion decides elections, and politicians

20 ) ian / australia
02/11/2012 15:34
(contd.) are mindful of it for that reason and working to change it is a valid political strategy.

21 ) Abu Shadi / USA
02/11/2012 17:25
Abbas and the PA are on their way to being obsolete , their time has expired . The struggle will take different path and requires new leadership , facts on the ground have surpassed any two state formula , it's a one state reality , the two people's have merged together and there is no way to devide the land and the people and have any consistency . The struggle will soon be for freedom for the west bankers and gaza , justice for the refugees and equality for all . It's the one STATE for all

22 ) Abu Shadi / USA
02/11/2012 17:35
The Israelis know that Abbas can't deliver the refugees issue , they know very well he doesn't Speak for the 6 million refugees . He may promise to crack down on the West Bank , even that is questionable . He is playing his last card , and no one is taking him serious , he is useless now. Reality on the ground is the One State Reality , and the struggle is changing . It's APPARTHIED .... That requires different leaders ! Different agenda

23 ) abu hani / .ps
02/11/2012 18:20
16 ) ahmed / usa02/11/2012 14:06 this is why hamas is better despite their shortcomings -------------- they need united factions.i doubt that will ever happen., but thats another story;l

24 ) Ahmed / Palestine
02/11/2012 18:42
Seems Palestinians in general are too stupid and too interested in fighting each other to form any type of united intelligent position. Our only hope is for us to have more and more kids, this combined with Zionist greed - that does not allow them to give one inch of land for a Palestinian State - will eventually lead to a one State where Jews are the minority. Unless we do something extremely stupid this could be the best result for all concerned.

25 ) Mel / Gaza
02/11/2012 19:36
@ian. "Abu Mazen is at least working for something"... he is only working for himself and his gang. He's working for money without any dignity. He works for Israel because it's Israel that pays him and keeps him in power!

26 ) Amira / Canada
03/11/2012 18:22
Do you remember? Abbas was put in power by US and Israel. Non only that his term expired several years ago. The only legitimate democratically elected with integrity and detemination is the government of Gaza. This is why its Ministers have been kidnapped and put in administrative israeli prison and the other officials or members are continuouslty mistreated, beaten and arrested by Abbas illegal government.

27 ) mohammed rafiq abu rish / palestine
03/11/2012 21:44
@26 .WE HREAD IT BEFORE .STILL YOU SAY : "Abbas was put in power by US and isreal.." the p.a. and voting for the p.a. therein , was also put in place by the u.s. and isreal. .. there is a palestinian govt. ..the p.a. govt under the occupation is not that

28 ) firas / saida
03/11/2012 22:33
if we have a real Palestine govt of all factions .it should be based away from the occuppied territory.outside Palestine.united of all factions.we are still occupied - and partys thirst for power ,both fateh and hamas proved they own agendas were before Palestines.i'm against a p.a. of fateh or m.b. version either.. reinstste a PLO govt in exile.

29 ) <<<< / <<<<
03/11/2012 22:34
in exile it will be independent of the occupation or their threats.

30 ) BB / USA
04/11/2012 17:45
Ian, you are a good, kind, reasonable soul. But now you can clearly understand from the comments posted here the irrational mindset, as shown here, that the Arab youth prefer any solution as long as a Jewish State of Israel of ANY size or shape has no place on the future map. They DO live in a state - of complete denial of any Jewish historical connection to the land. Jordan is Palestine, as per the San Remo Accords, the League of Nations and Article 80 of the UN Founding Charter. Deal with it.

31 ) @30 / bb/usa
04/11/2012 20:28
ur proof again that zionists are dillusional,crazed and belong in an institution..

32 ) ian / australia
05/11/2012 11:30
#30 "Ian, you are a good, kind, reasonable soul." Well thank you. "...Arab youth prefer any solution as long as a Jewish State of Israel...has no place on the future map." Often seems so, but let's hope they're just young and letting off steam and there's a more temperate silent majority out there that doesn't comment on Ma'an. (Also the leadership certainly doesn't think that.) "Jordan is Palestine, as per the San Remo Accords, the League of Nations and Article 80 of the UN Founding Charter."

33 ) ian / australia
05/11/2012 11:31
(contd.) Ah! Article 80, "the Jewish People's clause", courtesy of Netanyahu senior...when all else fails...that and San Remo, that hoary relic of Colonialism...nice try but no cigar.
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