Abbas predicts 'very difficult' time for Palestinians after UN bid
PA President arrives in New York ahead of UN General Assembly; Palestinians deny reports that Netanyahu agreed to compromise on wording of Israel as a Jewish state in Mideast Quartet statement.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Monday that he expects a "very difficult" situation after the Palestinians submit their request for full membership at the United Nations General Assembly, the French news agency AFP reported.
Speaking upon his arrival in New York ahead of the opening of the General Assembly on Wednesday, Abbas called on Israeli citizens to recognize Palestinian statehood to prove that a two-state solution can be reached.
Moreover, Palestinian sources close to Abbas insisted overnight Sunday that in contrast to recent reports, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not offer them a compromise on Israel's demand to be recognized as a Jewish state in the draft of a Quartet statement calling for direct peace talks to resume due to be published on Monday.
Netanyahu was reported to have agreed to several compromises in regard to the Quartet statement's wording, as an attempt to sway the Palestinian Authority away from its statehood bid at the United Nations.
The Palestinian officials confirmed that Israel offered the Palestinian Authority, through the Mideast Quartet envoy Tony Blair, several compromises, but denied that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to be flexible on the wording of Israel as a Jewish state.
Moreover, they said that the idea of altering the specific wording of "Israel as a Jewish state," which is Netanyahu's precondition to negotiations with the Palestinians, does now show flexibility on the part of Israel since the Palestinians reject it as a precondition.
On Sunday, it was reported that Abbas rebuffed proposals that included compromises by Netanyahu, which allegedly included a compromise on the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.
Among other compromises that were reportedly made by Netanyahu was a vaguer wording concerning the West Bank's main settlement blocs. One Quartet draft spoke of negotiations based on the 1967 borders, with land swaps, with borders that are not identical to those of 1967 and taking into account "demographic reality on the ground."
Netanyahu gave his consent to have a more ambiguous wording to that statement, in order to provide the Americans and Blair more leeway with the Palestinian side.
The Palestinian sources claimed Monday that they rejected the proposal since it did not include their demand that the lands that are swapped will be identical in scope and quality.