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Abbas devises plan for independent Palestinian state: official - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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In this file photo taken Tuesday, April 29, 2014, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a meeting with Palestinian businessmen from East Jerusalem to set up a national fund to support the Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem, at his office in the West Bank city of Ramallah. (AP Photos)

In this file photo taken Tuesday, April 29, 2014, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a meeting with Palestinian businessmen from East Jerusalem at his office in the West Bank city of Ramallah. (AP Photo)

Ramallah, Asharq Al-Awsat—Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has prepared a “three-stage contingency” plan to secure the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, high-level Palestinian sources told Asharq Al-Awsat.

The move comes following an agreement between the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas leadership in Doha. The Palestinian Authority, led by Fatah, and Hamas—which is in control of the Gaza Strip—have increasingly unified their stances this year, including forming a national unity government prior to the 50-day Gaza war between Hamas and Israel.

According to the plan, the Palestinian leadership will give the Americans a deadline of up to four months to demarcate the borders of the Palestinian state and secure Israeli recognition.

“If the two parties agree, immediate negotiations, governed by a deadline, will begin. During the talks Israel will be asked to provide a map of its borders,” a Palestinian official who spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to brief the media said.

Abbas and Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mishal agreed on the plan during their recent meeting in Doha, the Palestinian official said.

If Israel, or any other party, objects to the plan, the Palestinian leadership will seek to bring the issue before the UN Security Council, via the Arab League, in order to “request the evacuation of Israel from Palestinian territory within a specific and defined period of time,” the official said.

The third and final option would be for the Palestinians to seek membership to international organizations, including the International Criminal Court (ICC) where they could request an investigation into Israeli war crimes in Gaza. The Palestinians have already moved closer to ICC membership in recent months, according to media reports, in addition to joining 14 international treaties and conventions, including the Geneva Convention.

Abbas’s plan has been touted by the Palestinians as the only guarantee to avoid a repeat of the 50-day Israeli attack on Gaza which saw more than 2,000 people killed and untold destruction across the entire Gaza Strip.

Talks between the Palestinians and Israelis will resume next week to discuss some of the outstanding issues, such as the release of prisoners and the opening of an airport and seaport in Gaza, a Palestinian official told Asharq Al-Awsat.

The talks, which earlier resulted in a peace deal between the two sides and the announcement of an open-ended ceasefire, could last for months or more until a finalized ceasefire agreement can be reached, the official said.