Abbas: Netanyahu's Vision for Peace Is Nothing We Can Build On

Palestinian president rejects PM's speech to Congress, says he will seek UN recognition of Palestinian state if there is no breakthrough in peace process.

Reuters
Reuters
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Reuters
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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas rejected Wednesday Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's vision for peace as outlined in his speech to Congress on Tuesday.

Addressing a meeting of the Palestine Liberation Organization in Ramallah, Abbas said Netanyahu's vision for peace contained "nothing we can build on."

Palestinian President Mahmoud AbbasCredit: Daniel Bar-On

Abbas also said he would seek UN recognition of Palestinian statehood if there was no breakthrough in the peace process by September.

Abbas told the Palestine Liberation Organization Netanyahu's speech to the United States Congress on Tuesday "traveled far from peace," dictating solutions before negotiations even begin.

He said he would consult Arab states over the weekend about U.S. President Barack Obama's latest ideas for restarting the peace process and Netanyahu's negative response to them.

"We said in the past and we still say that our choice is negotiation, negotiation and nothing but negotiation. But if nothing happens by September we will go [to the UN to ask for recognition]," Abbas said.

"Our aim is not to isolate [Israel] or to delegitimize it. It is not an act of terror and not a unilateral act."

Abbas' plan to seek UN recognition was criticized by both Netanyahu and Obama in speeches in Washington last week.

In a major policy speech, however, Obama said a future Palestinian state should be based on the borders as they existed on the eve of the 1967 Middle East, with land swaps mutually agreed with Israel.

In his speech to Congress on Tuesday, Netanyahu said that he is "willing to make painful compromises" to achieve peace but insisted that Jerusalem will not be divided. He said that Israel will be "generous" on the size of a Palestinian state but reiterated his firm stance against the return to "indefensible" 1967 borders.

Top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat dismissed Netanyahu's speech, saying it was "full of lies" and that Netanyahu has "no vision and nothing to offer."

Erekat condemned Netanyahu's call to break its ties with Hamas, insisting the Palestinians choose unity and "not a man who has nothing to offer."

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