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12 killed, more than 20 injured in Israeli shelling at Jabaliya
Abbas: We are ready to return to negotiations conditionally
Published Thursday 08/05/2014 (updated) 10/05/2014 12:00
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(MaanImages/file)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said in an interview on Thursday that the Palestinians are ready to resume negotiations under the condition that Israel releases the fourth batch of veteran Palestinian prisoners and halts settlement construction for three months.

The comments, which came during a televised interview, came only two weeks after Israel halted peace negotiations following a unity deal between Palestinian political parties Hamas and Fatah, putting an end to months of fruitless talks.

Abbas said in the interview that it was Israel that had halted the negotiations, not the Palestinians, and that Israel had threatened to stop allowing the transfer of funds to the Palestinian Authority, a threat he called a form of "gangsterism."

He said that so far he had not heard a response from Israel on the resumption of talks, but that the Palestinians continued to plan on joining international organizations if Israel does not agree to three conditions.

In April, Palestine applied to join a number of international treaties after Israel failed to release a group of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails for more than two decades.

Abbas added that he was not going to disband the Palestinian Authority but that if Israel wants to "bring down" the Palestinian Authority that it should do so, and that in that case Palestinians have the right to go to international bodies and to demand Israel take responsibility.

Abbas also commented on demands that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state, highlighting the contradiction of the Israeli request in light of Israel's failure to recognize the Palestinian people.

"Since 1948 Israel does not recognize the Palestinian people, and since 1967 it does not recognize the Palestinian people, and those who gave them the Balfour Declaration and the Mandate do not recognize the Palestinian people, and Israel believes that they live by chance in this country."

"In response to Israel's request to recognize the 'Jewish state' we said that we did not hear about the 'Jewish state' three years ago," he continued. "We told them that we recognize the state of Israel," highlighting that Israel "signed a peace accord with Jordan and Egypt and did not make this request, and (Israel) can go to the UN and change the name of the state" as they like.

Abbas also spoke about the internal organization of the Fatah party, stressing that it was in need of internal reorganization and would have a general conference in August in order to prepare for Palestinian elections.

Palestinian general elections, which have not taken place since 2006, would take place within 6 months, he added.

In late April, the two major Palestinian political parties Hamas -- which controls the Gaza Strip -- and Fatah -- which controls the West Bank through the PLO -- reconciled after nearly seven years of Palestinian political division.

The move followed a near breakdown of peace talks after months of Israel's continued construction of Jewish-only settlements in the Palestinian West Bank, and led Israel to halt the US-backed negotiations.
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1 ) jesse / usa
08/05/2014 22:40
Now that hamas and the PA are one team they need to be willing to accept a peace agreement aas well.

2 ) Horge / Spain
09/05/2014 11:07
It doesn't look like Hamas will change its tune on recognizing Israel anytime soon, however. Earlier this week, deputy leader Moussa Abu Marzouk told a press conference in Gaza City that Hamas would never recognize Israel. “We will not recognize the Zionist entity,” he said.

3 ) Arnold / Canada
09/05/2014 20:39
No prisoner release. No end to settlement building. Sit down as quickly as you can. Hammer out tough concessions on both sides or watch your state erode inch by inch.

4 ) Why would Israel do / ANYTHING
09/05/2014 20:43
before they see what kind of government you are forming? Are you going to be puppet of HAMAS? Is HAMAS going to accept ISRAEL EXISTENCE? How you will deal with HAMAS ROCKET LAUNCHING AFTER YOU SIGN THE AGREEMENT ??? Israel will DO NOTHING for many MONTHS until the dust clears!

5 ) Outlier / USA
09/05/2014 22:51
Preconditions? Really?

6 ) Roxanne / Belgium
09/05/2014 23:56
After Netanyahu's remark on 23.4.14 when the Fatah/Hamas reconciliation was announced; “He [Abbas] has to choose. Does he want peace with Hamas or peace with Israel. You can have one but not the other. I hope he chooses peace, so far he hasn’t done so.”, I'm not surprised at Abu Marzouk's response this week.

7 ) JoeFattal / USA
10/05/2014 00:11
Hamas or any faction don't have to recognize Israel. And if the peace agreement satisfy the Palestinians they would agree, if not they will not. If you dislike your neighbor, will you move out?. No, it wouldn't make any sense. I live in a neighborhood and I don't like half of them, and I am still there. I doubt it very much that Israel care if they like their neighbors or not, but they will use as an excuse to derail the peace and make it harder to the Palestinians to agree on anything.

8 ) Giuseppe / Italy
10/05/2014 17:23
(1) - Good luck to the new unity government. As they press ahead with unifying Palestine, Israel sits & complains about Hamas. By the time Bibi decides to talk, Abbas will have probably signed the Rome Statute & gone to the ICC/ICJ. Why all the fuss about a Palestinian resistance faction, when Israel has IDF. Irrespective of their views on Israel, Hamas would find themselves isolated & alone, were a peace deal to be agreed & signed on behalf of the Palestinians, then rocket fire continued.

9 ) Giuseppe / Italy
10/05/2014 17:24
(2) - No one (Arab states) supporting the Arab Peace Initiative 2002, nor the International community per se, would condone Hamas actions then. It would be a matter for national/international law (&/or security forces) to intervene & stop it. The extreme paranoia over Hamas is either an excuse or genuine fear, given the arsenal of weapons that Israel has. No one has to love their neighbours, although it helps. They just need to maintain reasonable & peaceful relations with them. Try it!
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