Army Radio quoted Abbas as saying in an interview with Egyptian television station Nile TV, "This was one of the biggest mistakes of our lives. (Former PA leader Yasser) Arafat did not want the second intifada to spread, but he was unable to stop it.
"My motto since the outbreak of the second intifada was that it must be stopped, because armed activity destroys us, and it indeed destroyed us," he said, adding that Arafat was a "pragmatist rather than an extremist."
He further told the TV station that he has the courage to sign a permanent agreement with Israel to end the conflict "once and for all." However, the Palestinian president said he would have to hold a referendum before such an agreement could be approved.
"Peace could be achieved in a week" if the Netanyahu government would actively pursue it, Abbas claimed.
'Israel doesn't want negotiations'
During the interview, the Palestinian leader accused Israel of "not being serious" in the negotiations. "While the Arabs do not want war with Israel, Israel does not want to negotiate," he said.
According to Abbas, former Israeli PM Ehud Olmert waived the demand for the presence of Israeli soldiers along the future Palestinian state's borders with Egypt and Jordan, and agreed instead to have international forces deployed there.
The Palestinian leader also spoke in favor of the Authority's boycott of products that are manufactured in Jewish settlements. "I am also taking part in the boycott. I am not boycotting Israel, I am boycotting the settlements' products, because they are manufactured on our lands," he said.
Abbas blamed Iran for Fatah's strife with Hamas, saying, "The Palestinian people are like a hijacked plane. The decisions are not in our hands, but in the Iranians' hands. This is why Palestinian unity, like a plane, is hijacked."