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Mahmoud Abbas Photo: Reuters
Mahmoud Abbas Photo: Reuters
 
 

 

Abbas: We want peace with Israel

Palestinian president tells Israeli think tank he wants to meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu, adding that two states, East Jerusalem capital, IDF-free borders and refugee return are conditions for 'opportunity for peace that might not return'

Ynet
Published: 01.27.14, 17:16 / Israel News

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas made a personal plea to Israel saying he hoped the fighting between the two peoples had ended, and that now was the best time for a peace agreement.

 

 

    "I'm telling the Israeli people that we're neighbors, we've fought many wars, and I pray to God that the wars between us have stopped," Abbas said in an interview with the Israeli think tank Institute for National Security Studies, which will be aired this week.  

     

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    Abbas: Two states has to become reality

     

    "From my perspective they're a thing of the past, as is the use of force a thing of the past. We want peace with Israel. We want the people in Israel to live in security in its state and the Palestinian people will also live in its independent state."

     

    The president's comments on the current round of negotiations yielded a revelation of fresh attitudes towards the issue.

     

    "First of all, the vision of two states has to become reality, according to it the State of Israel will exist next to the State of Palestine within the 1967 borders in security and stability," he said.

     

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    "The second most important clause is that East Jerusalem will be the capital of the Palestinian state," Abbas said. "Jerusalem will be a city open to all the religions and there will be arrangements made between the two sides."

     

    Abbas said regarding the potential-state's future borders that the IDF would not play a role in defending its boundaries.

     

    The issue of refugees, the president said, must be dealt with according to the Arab Peace Initiative, which said that the predicament would be dealt with according to UN Resolution 194, saying that refugees could return home or be compensated.

     

    "If these four topics (two states, East Jerusalem, borders and refugees) are fulfilled, I believe that there can be an acceptable, stable and legitimate solution."

     

    Israeli opportunity

    Abbas told the Israeli interviewers that his solution is "an opportunity for you."

     

    "We represent the entire nation, and we want to sign a peace agreement, which of course will be brought to a referendum," he said. "But it may be possible that this opportunity for peace might not return."

     

    In addition to the importance of the Israeli accomplishment of achieving peace with the Palestinians, Abbas said the deal would also bestow upon the country recognition by 57 Arab Muslim countries.

     

    "There will be a complete recognition with full diplomatic ties with the State of Israel," he said. "I hope that the Israeli nation understands what the significance is of living in peace in the region between Mauritania and Indonesia in comparison to the current situation."

     

    Abbas said that those wishing for a long-term temporary agreement until the establishment of the Palestinians' state don't actually want to withdraw from the West Bank.

     

    "We agree to a third-party presence that will replace Israel during or after the withdrawal in order to remove our fears and Israel's fears," Abbas said, saying security detail would remain the same, and that NATO is the appropriate organization to fill the role.

     

    Will Hamas be a problem?

    Despite the optimism on Abbas's side, the matter of the Palestinian Authority-Hamas rift, and their ideological differences, could be the downfall of any agreement, the Institute for National Security Studies questioners said.

     

    "Hamas isn't a problem," Abbas said. "Leave that to us."

     

    The Palestinian president said that the PA has an agreement with Hamas, where the terrorist organization allows negotiations with the intention of establishing a Palestinian state within the 1967 lines, as well as a non-violent popular resistance and a government of technocrats and democratic elections.

     

    "We're signing an agreement in the name of the entire Palestinian nation – in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and in the diaspora."

     

    To remove any doubts, Abbas made it clear that he was serious about signing an agreement with Israel.

     

    "Write this down," Abbas told his interviewers. "I'm willing to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at any time. I'm not ruling out Netanyahu speaking at our parliament or me speaking in front of the Knesset. The matter should be checked."

     

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