'Not One Israeli' in Future Palestine, Mahmoud Abbas Vows

Rejects Settlers — and Trumpets Jerusalem as Capital

Mahmoud Abbas fired a warning shot across the bow of anyone who thought the peace talks would be quick and easy. The Palestinian leader laid out hardline positions on borders, settlers, and Jerusalem.
getty images
Mahmoud Abbas fired a warning shot across the bow of anyone who thought the peace talks would be quick and easy. The Palestinian leader laid out hardline positions on borders, settlers, and Jerusalem.

By Reuters

Published July 29, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 2)

On the future of Jewish settlements on the West Bank and the status of Jerusalem - among the most contentious issues facing the two sides - Abbas signalled no softening of his stance.

“We’ve already made all the necessary concessions,” he said.

“East Jerusalem is the capital of the state of Palestine … if there were and must be some kind of small exchange (of land) equal in size and value, we are ready to discuss this - no more, no less,” he said.

TERMS OF REFERENCE

Before agreeing to return to talks last week, Palestinian officials were adamant that negotiations should have three main prerequisites: the release of veteran Arab prisoners in Israeli jails, a full settlement freeze and an acknowledgment of the 1967 lines as the basis for future borders.

Israel has publicly granted only one of those demands when its cabinet on Sunday voted by a slim margin to approved the phased release of 104 Arab prisoners.

Abbas said on Monday that he refused to endorse any half-measure whereby he would let Israel freeze construction in smaller, more far-flung settlements but allow it to build in the larger and more populous “blocs” closer to the 1967 lines.

“There was a request, ‘We’ll only build here, what do you think?’ If I agreed, I would legitimize all the rest (of the settlements). I said no. I said out loud and in writing that, to us, settlements in their entirety are illegitimate.”

Asked if the Americans may try to get Israel to agree to a de facto settlement freeze, the president made a broad smile and declined to answer: “I don’t know.”

Palestinian sources say officials remain uncomfortable with the lack of a firm Israeli commitment, publicly or behind closed doors, to meet their remaining expectations.

They say that in talks in the coming days, the Americans hope to satisfy Palestinian objections by issuing a statement declaring the 1967 lines the basis for negotiations, and the United States will attempt to compel the Israelis to endorse their note.

Israeli officials have in public repeatedly refused to accede to the Palestinian demands, calling them preconditions on issues that must be agreed at the end, not the start, of talks.

Senior aide to the president Tayyeb Abdul Rahim, accompanying Abbas, told Reuters, “We’re between too opinions: should Israel agree to stop building settlements, or should they agree to a state on the 1967 borders to go back to talks.

“What’s stronger? (The second) means that all settlements are illegitimate. America is convinced of our point of view … Israel has not yet agreed to a state on the 1967 lines, but it will go to the talks on that basis.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • A boost for morale, if not morals.
  • Mixed marriages in Israel are tough in times of peace. So, how do you maintain a family bubble in the midst of war? http://jd.fo/f4VeG
  • Despite the escalating violence in Israel, more and more Jews are leaving their homes in Alaska to make aliyah: http://jd.fo/g4SIa
  • The Workmen's Circle is hosting New York’s first Jewish street fair on Sunday. Bring on the nouveau deli!
  • Novelist Sayed Kashua finds it hard to write about the heartbreak of Gaza from the plush confines of Debra Winger's Manhattan pad. Tough to argue with that, whichever side of the conflict you are on.
  • "I’ve never bought illegal drugs, but I imagine a small-time drug deal to feel a bit like buying hummus underground in Brooklyn."
  • We try to show things that get less exposed to the public here. We don’t look to document things that are nice or that people would like. We don’t try to show this place as a beautiful place.”
  • A new Gallup poll shows that only 25% of Americans under 35 support the war in #Gaza. Does this statistic worry you?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.