Sirte, Asharq Al-Awsat- Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas presented four alternatives, which he described as “historic,” concerning the prospects of the direct negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis. This took place at the recent meetings of the Arab initiative committee in the Libyan city of Sirte on the sidelines of the extraordinary Arab summit.
The alternatives are as follows:
First: If Israel decides to halt the settlement activities, the direct negotiations will continue, and its pace will be accelerated.
Second: If this does not take place, we will call on the United States to recognize the State of Palestine within the 1967 borders; if the United States does not do so, we will go to the UN Security Council, and call on all the countries of the world to recognize the State of Palestine; and if this does not take place, we will go the UN Security Council to impose a mandate over the Palestinian people.
Third: (If the two previous proposals were to fail) we call on Israel to re-occupy the territories.
Fourth: [In this case] The Palestinian Authority is to be abandoned and leave Ramallah.
The Palestinian president started his address by reviewing the events since his visit to Washington, proceeding through the negotiations at Sharm al-Sheikh and Jerusalem, the meeting in New York, and the visit by Senator George Mitchell. He said: Our stance is that there will be no negotiations as long as the settlement activities exist. We have conveyed this to the Israeli Government in an official message.”
Abbas referred to the US arms deal with Israel in exchange for freezing the settlement activities for four months, and he also reviewed the efforts exerted by Washington and the US secretary of state in order to restore the direct negotiations. He also talked about the dialog with the Hamas Movement, and pointed out that there was Iranian intervention in the reconciliation. The Palestinian President said: “Hamas accuses us of submission to a US veto with regard to the reconciliation, and the United States is submissive to an Iranian veto with regard to the same issue.”
Abbas also told Arab leaders over the weekend that Israel has in effect scrapped the landmark 1993 Oslo autonomy accords, an aide said on Monday.
“Abbas affirmed to the Arabs that Israel has effectively cancelled the Oslo agreement and the other agreements it has signed with the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), ” chief negotiator Saeb Erakat told AFP.
He went on to accuse Israel of having stripped the Palestinian Authority of much of its limited powers in the occupied territories and of “intruding on a daily basis” into areas governed by the Palestinians, Erakat said.
“If Israel does not respect agreements or adhere to implementing them then how can the PLO and the Palestinian Authority adhere to them?” he asked.
The 1993 Oslo accords formally launched the peace process based on autonomy and led to the creation of the Palestinian Authority, which was to govern parts of the occupied West Bank and Gaza until a final agreement.
But after nearly two decades of sputtering talks Israel and the Palestinians remain bitterly divided on core issues and Abbas has refused to negotiate without a complete freeze of Jewish settlement building on Palestinian lands.
The Arab League follow-up peace committee endorsed a decision made by Abbas last week to suspend negotiations with Israel and gave the Unite States one month to convince the Jewish state to freeze its settlement activities.