Abbas: Occupation leading to one-state solution
Palestinian president tell the Guardian, 'There will be progress if Israel accepts accept framework of two-state solution based on the 1967 borders and an end to occupation.' Adds: There will be no return to armed struggle; it would destroy our territories and our country
Israel's continued settlement of the West Bank is leading to a "one-state solution", Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told the Guardian.
In an interview with the British newspaper, published Sunday, Abbas indicating that he may be poised this week to accept a US offer for "proximity talks" with Israel through American mediators.
Speaking in London after meeting Gordon Brown and the foreign secretary, David Miliband, the Palestinian leader said he did not know why the Americans "backed off" their demand for a full Israeli construction moratorium in the West Bank.
"If there is any substance in the response from the Israeli side – for example, if they accept the framework of a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders and an end to occupation, with timelines and mechanisms – then there will be progress," Abbas was quoted by the Guardian as saying.
According to the Guardian, Abbas also said he would be willing to resume full face-to-face peace talks if Israel halted all settlement construction for three months and accepted its June 1967 borders as the basis for land swaps.
"These are not preconditions, they are requirements in the road map. If they are not prepared to do that, it means they don't want a political solution," the Palestinian leader told the newspaper.
'Hamas talking about peace'
In the interview, Abbas claimed that negotiations with former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert before the Gaza war had gone further than those held in January 2001 at Taba between Yasser Arafat and Ehud Barak and included "border swaps, Jerusalem and the return of some refugees". However, the Palestinian president told the British daily, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government refused to accept what had been agreed as a basis for further negotiation.
Abbas stressed that "There will be no return to armed struggle," saying such a struggle would "destroy our territories and our country." Hamas itself, he claimed, "is not resisting" – a reference to the organization's effective ceasefire since January last year – "and now they are talking about peace and a truce with Israel".
The Palestinian president said if Israel continued to "resist an end to occupation", he would resign and refuse to stand in new elections: "I will have to tell our people there is no hope and no use in my staying in office," he said.
Abbas' four years as elected PA president expired a year ago, but last month the PLO extended his term until any new elections are held.