Abbas declares to Colombian President: Palestinians want peace

Abbas tells President Juan Manuel Santos of Columbia, Palestinians committed to peace process based on pre-1967 lines.

By KHALED ABU TOAMEH

 

 

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday reiterated the Palestinians’ commitment to the peace process with Israel on the basis of the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the pre-1967 lines, with Jerusalem as its capital.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas shakes hands with his Colombian counterpart Juan Manuel Santos. Photo Reuters

PA President Mahmoud Abbas shakes hands with his Colombian counterpart Juan Manuel Santos.

Abbas’s statement came during a meeting in Ramallah with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.

The PA’s official news agency Wafa reported that Abbas briefed his guest on the latest developments surrounding the peace process and international efforts to resume talks between the Palestinians and Israel.

Meanwhile, the PA said Tuesday that no date has been set for another visit to the region by US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Kerry was expected to arrive in the region this week in yet another bid to revive the stalled negotiations.

PA officials said that Abbas and Kerry were scheduled to meet in Ramallah or Jordan in the coming days.

Some Palestinian officials said that Kerry’s apparent decision to postpone his trip to the region was a sign that his efforts have failed.

The officials claimed that Kerry has failed to persuade the Israeli government to accept the PA leadership’s demand for a full cessation of settlement construction and the release of Palestinian prisoners in order to pave the way for the resumption of the peace process.

Abdullah Abdullah, a senior Fatah official, blamed Israeli “intransigence” for the failure of Kerry’s mission.

Abdullah told the Bethlehem- based news agency Ma’an that Israel was refusing to give Kerry “clear answers” regarding the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the pre-1967 lines.

The Fatah official claimed that Kerry postponed his planned visit because he was supposed to relay Israel’s answers to the PA leadership.

The PA Ministry of Information said on Tuesday that Israel was not interested in a “just and balanced peace” with the Palestinians.

The ministry said in a statement that Israel was continuing to confiscate land and build settlement units “without taking into consideration efforts to reach a just settlement.”

It added that “settlements and peace do not go together.”

Hanan Ashrawi - Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Hanan Ashrawi – Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

PLO executive committee member Hanan Ashrawi said that the only way to make Kerry’s efforts succeed was by “confronting and deterring Israel and holding it accountable for its practices.” Ashrawi called on the international community to intervene to stop Israeli “violations and measures, including settlement expansion, land confiscation, settler assaults and house demolitions, especially in occupied Jerusalem.”

She warned that Israel’s polices and actions were threatening to thwart Kerry’s efforts, adding: “We could witness the end of the two-state solution and the establishment of a Palestinian state.

The situation could explode, increasing violence and affecting the entire region.”

 

View original Jerusalem Post publication at: http://www.jpost.com/Diplomacy-and-Politics/Palestinians-want-peace-Abbas-tells-Colombian-President-316230

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