Palestinian Authority chair Mahmoud Abbas expressed vehement opposition yesterday to the establishment of a Palestinian state within temporary borders.

Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rudaineh told reporters in Ramallah that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan for an interim deal is not acceptable so there is nothing to discuss.

“The Palestinian position is the establishment of a state on all the territory occupied in 1967. That is the consensus position in keeping with decisions by the Arab League and the international community.”

According to Abu Rudaineh, Netanyahu’s plan means giving up Jerusalem, which he said “the Palestinian people and its leadership cannot abide.”

Defense Minister Ehud Barak also commented on the matter in an interview with Channel 10 yesterday. Barak said Israel had to examine ways of moving forward with the Palestinians. He noted that Israel was likely to find itself facing increasing attacks on its legitimacy and growing isolation.

“It is important to maintain our status and therefore we should take the initiative in the diplomatic arena,” he said.

However, he called the current coalition unsuitable for such a move. “I’m not sure this government can move forward,” he said.

Barak, who has been criticized for remaining in the government while the peace process stagnates, said in the interview, “Until now I have not succeeded in influencing but I consider the effort the main reason I am staying in the cabinet.”

In related news, a senior Hamas delegation left the Gaza Strip yesterday to meet with the organization’s Damascus-based leadership, including to discuss the matter of captive IDF soldier Gilad Shalit. Hamas has recently claimed there is progress in talks and that German mediator Ernst Uhrlau has presented new ideas to both parties in a series of meetings in the Gaza Strip and Jerusalem.