Abbas: Netanyahu Is the Most Inflexible Israeli Leader I've Known

Palestinian President says Netanyahu's ideology does not allow him to move forward, also stresses any peace proposal must be based on 1967 borders and Israeli settlement freeze.

Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury
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Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is the most inflexible Israeli leader he had ever known, responding to a question in an interview with the pan-Arab newspaper al-Sharq al-Awsat.

"Benjamin Netanyahu's ideological positions do not allow him to advance forward," Abbas said.

When he was asked to rank the Israeli leaders with whom he worked, he said Netanyahu is ranked last, saying that "with Rabin, Peres, Sharon, Olmert, and Livni, negotiations were possible."

Abbas refrained from commenting on the Mideast Quartet's proposal to relaunch Israeli-Palestinian direct negotiations within a month, saying he must discuss the offer with the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah.

Abbas did not reject the idea of renewing direct negotiations like the Quartet's proposal suggests, but said the proposal must contain several fundamental points.

"The Palestinians cannot negotiate any proposal that is not based on 1967 borders and does not ensure a settlement freeze in the West Bank," Abbas said.

When asked about the Palestinians' next diplomatic move, Abbas said that all options are on the table, including a request to the UN General Assembly to recognize a Palestinian state as a member.

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