Abbas: Second Intifada Was One of Our Worst Mistakes

Palestinian President tells Egyptian television station that if Israel was 'willing' peace could be achieved in no more than one week.

Haaretz Service
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Haaretz Service

"The second intifada was one of our worst mistakes," Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told an Egyptian television station on Wednesday. "[Late Palestinian leader Yasser] Arafat didn't want the intifada to erupt, but he couldn't stop it," he added.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi, Vietnam in May, 2010.Credit: Reuters

The second intifada, or uprising, was a period of intensified Israeli-Palestinian violence which began in October 2000. The wave of violence began when Palestinian rioting erupted when then-opposition leader Ariel Sharon together with a Likud party delegation surrounded by hundreds of Israeli riot police visited the Temple Mount compound which is widely considered the third holiest site in Islam.

On Wednesday, Abbas said that "peace can be achieved in no more than one week, but only if Israel is willing." He added that the establishment of a Palestinian state has been delayed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government. "They must understand that peace is in their interest," he declared.

On Saturday, the Palestinian president announced that he was willing to swap land with Israel under a future peace agreement, but that there were still major gaps between the two sides regarding the percentage of land to be swapped.

Abbas stressed that as of yet, no progress has been made in the "proximity talks" between Israel and the Palestinians, mediated by U.S. special envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell.

Abbas, asked about a recent Wall Street Journal report that he was willing to make surprisingly generous concessions, reiterated that the amount of land in question has not yet been agreed upon by the two sides.