Abbas Threatens to Dismantle Palestinian Authority if Israeli Settlement Construction Continues

Palestinian president says Israel's E-1 construction plan aims to sabotage the peace process, considering 'all options' if settlement expansion persists.

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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas threatened on Saturday to dissolve the Palestinian Authority if construction in Israeli settlements continues and if the stalemate in the peace process persists.

Speaking at the opening session of the Fatah Advisory Council in Ramallah, Xinhua news agency reported, Abbas said that he is considering asking Israel to resume full control of the West Bank, saying it is impossible to act as a leader without being granted power.

"We will not be guards of Israel's security and will never be a tool at Israel's hand to implement its plans on the Palestinian territories," he was quoted as saying.

Following the Palestinian's statehood bid at the United Nations General Assembly last month, the Israeli government announced it plans to advance a long-frozen construction project for the E-1 corridor, located between Jerusalem and the settlement of Ma'ale Adumim. The Netanyahu government also announced plans to build 3,000 new residential units beyond the Green Line.

Palestinian news Agency Wafa reported that Abbas told the council that the E-1 construction plans are "a red line and we will never allow it to happen." The plans, he said, aim to "sabotage the peace process."

“The entire world opposes settlements and says they are illegal,” he said.

Abbas' remarks came a day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he is not interested in what the UN has to say concerning Israeli construction in Jerusalem.

"We live in a Jewish state, and Jerusalem is the capital of Israel," he said in a television interview on Friday. "The Western Wall is not occupied territory. We will build in Jerusalem because this is our right. What the UN says doesn't interest me."

The Palestinian leader said he is weighing "all options" in case Israel's settlement construction persists, highlighting that such steps would focus on establishing an independent state in accordance with the 1967 borders.

The international community severely criticized Israel's moves. On Wednesday, fourteen out of fifteen members of the UN Security Council condemned Israel for its building projects around Jerusalem and across the Green Line. The United States accused Israel on Tuesday of engaging in a "pattern of provocative action." 

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaking during a meeting of the Palestinian leadership at his compound in the West Bank city of Ramallah, December 5, 2012.Credit: AP