Abbas: No compromise on 1967 borders, Jerusalem
Published Friday 11/10/2013 (updated) 13/10/2013 21:46
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas attends a meeting in the West
Bank city of Ramallah on Feb. 2, 2011. (MaanImages/Omar Rashidi)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- President Mahmoud Abbas said in an interview Thursday that he will not "compromise on the 1967 borders as the borders for the Palestinian state."
He also said that "there is no peace without Jerusalem as the capital for the state of Palestine."
The remarks were made during an interview broadcast on Palestine Satellite channel as well as al-Falastiniya Satellite Channel, as reported by the official Wafa news agency on Friday.
Abbas stressed that the direct negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis are based on the principle of maintaining the 1967 borders. He added, however, that there remains the possibility of exchanging limited amounts of lands from across either sides of the border.
Abbas said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's failure to recognize the State of Palestine on the 1967 borders, as well as his insistence on recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, indicates Netanyahu's hostility toward negotiations with the Palestinians.
Abbas' statements follow months of direct negotiations between the PLO and Israel in order to end the 45-year-long Israeli military occupation of the Palestinian territories and resolve other outstanding issues in the ongoing conflict.
Abbas also denounced the repeated raids on the al-Aqsa mosque by Israeli settlers and said that the situation had become "extremely dangerous." He said that the settlers enter al-Aqsa daily and assault Palestinian and worshipers, while Israeli forces do nothing to stop them but instead provide protection to the settlers. These attacks could potentially destroy all international efforts made to achieve peace in the region, he added.
Abbas mentioned that the Palestinian leadership had warned Israeli and American sides about this, and that the Palestinian leadership is considering taking the issue to the UN Security Council.
Abbas mentioned that the Palestinian Authority had agreed to postpone any attempt to join international organizations for nine months, and in return, Israel had said it would release the 104 Palestinian prisoners taken before the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993.
He added that the issue of joining international organizations is not, however, linked to the currently ongoing negotiations.
The agreement to release pre-Oslo Palestinian prisoners is being implemented by Israel in a staged process, with 26 Palestinian prisoners released each three months. According to the agreement, if Israel fails to abide by its responsibilities, then Palestine will be free to apply to membership in various international organizations. The negotiation process will continue for nine months as agreed upon with the approval the US Secretary of State John Kerry.
More than 500,000 Israeli settlers live in settlements across the West Bank and East Jerusalem, in contravention of international law. The internationally recognized Palestinian territories of which the West Bank and East Jerusalem form a part have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.