Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas vowed on Tuesday to take a tough stance in talks with Israel and said he would tell a US envoy that Israel's Gaza offensive proved it was not intent on peacemaking.
Abbas also said he would back international efforts to prosecute Israel for war crimes. "We will do all we can to prove Israel committed crimes that would make your skin crawl," Abbas said, referring to the Geneva Conventions. "We want the world to give us justice for once.
"Israel does not want peace, otherwise it would not have done this. We need to understand this and tell it to those coming from Europe and America. Israel wants to waste time to strengthen facts on the ground with settlements and the wall."
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Monday promised Israeli military personnel state protection, in anticipation of various efforts to prosecute soldiers abroad.
Israel said its aim was to stop rocket fire into Israel from the Gaza Strip, which has been outside Abbas' control and in the hands of his Islamist rivals Hamas since June 2007.
Hamas survived Israel's onslaught, accusing its rivals in the Arab world of being "collaborators" who bet on Israel destroying the group. Hamas accuses the US-backed Abbas and his Arab allies of getting nothing in peace talks with Israel.
"We want a state in the 1967 borders, a fair solution to the refugee issue, removal of settlements. There will be no going beyond these points or bargaining," said Abbas, on the defensive in the Arab world before Hamas' rhetoric of "resistance."
US peace envoy George Mitchell arrived in Egypt on Tuesday and is due to meet Abbas in Ramallah on Thursday, after new US President Barack Obama appointed him last week. Abbas said Palestinians are looking to Obama for progress: "He (Obama) has said good things. We are waiting to see if there is seriousness during this year about the peace process."