Abbas Promises Kerry Not to Confront Israel Until End of 2015

Makes guarantee in order to encourage donor states to implement their plans for reconstruction in the Gaza Strip.

Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury
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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Cairo, July 16, 2014
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Cairo, July 16, 2014Credit: AP
Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Thursday that he had made a commitment to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that there would not be any internal Palestinian disputes or conflicts with Israel at least until the end of 2015.

Abbas made this guarantee in order to encourage donor states to implement their plans for reconstruction in the Gaza Strip. Abbas commented on his talk with Kerry during a meeting with Palestinian businessmen in Ramallah.

“Kerry asked me how long the calm would hold. I told him that I’m not a fortune teller, but at least until the end of next year there will be no conflict, and I’m working towards making the quiet last forever,” said Abbas.

At the same time, senior Palestinian officials reiterated that there are no intentions to forego approaching the UN Security Council with a request for a resolution that would a Palestinian state be recognized within the 1967 borders, and provide an expiration date for the Israeli occupation.

Yasser Abed Rabbo, secretary general of the PLO’s executive committee, said on Thursday in response to calls from the U.S. and the international community to renew negotiations, that such negotiations would not detract from attempts to involve the Security Council. According to Rabbo, the Palestinian leadership is waiting for the rotating members of the Security Council to finish their terms, claiming that this would serve Palestinian interests.

“We’ve already secured seven votes, and we expect another five,” said Rabbo. “As the Americans threaten to veto, we ask them, what is the realistic alternative in the face of Israeli refusal to 1967 borders and continued settlement construction that endangers the two state solution?”

At the same time, a senior Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouk said on Thursday that Hamas and Israel have yet to discuss prisoner exchanges, and that the issue is not currently on the agenda. Abu Marzouk told the Palestinian news agency Maan that the talks between Israel and the Palestinians, set to begin in Cairo at the end of the month, will focus on operating a seaport and an airport in Gaza, rather than negotiations future status agreements, as those issues were resolved by the Oslo Agreements.

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