Abbas Warns of Disbanding PA if No Peace Talks

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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas warned Thursday that he would disband his Palestinian Authority if there was no Israeli movement toward renewing peace talks after Israel's elections on January 22.

Abbas, in an interview with the Israeli daily Haaretz, said that if such a situation arose he would hand full responsibility for the occupied West Bank to the Israeli government.

"If there is no progress even after the election I will take the phone and call (Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu," Abbas said.

"I'll tell him... Sit in the chair here instead of me, take the keys, and you will be responsible for the Palestinian Authority."

"Once the new government in Israel is in place, Netanyahu will have to decide -- yes or no," Abbas said in the interview published on the paper's website late Thursday.

This was not the first time that Abbas had resorted to such threats, but the Palestinian Authority has found itself in a grave situation over the past few months due to an unprecedented financial crisis.

Talks between the two sides have been on hold since September 2010, with the Palestinians insisting on a settlement freeze before returning to the negotiating table and the Israelis insisting on no preconditions.

Following last month's historic United Nations vote giving the Palestinians upgraded status in the world body Israel announced a new spate of settlement building in the West Bank and Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem.

In Thursday's interview Abbas said that since then Israel had also reduced security coordination with Palestinian forces in the West Bank.

He said he would be willing to renew negotiations with Netanyahu after the election but would demand that Israel freeze further settlement construction while they are being held, renew the transfer of Palestinian tax revenues that Israel has been withholding and release some 120 long-term Palestinian prisoners.

"These are not preconditions, these are commitments Israel already took upon itself in the past," he told Haaretz.

The Palestinian Authority was set up in 1994 with the return to Gaza after 27 years in exile of Yasser Arafat, leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Under the Oslo accords on Palestinian autonomy, it was due to rule for a transitory period ending in May 1999.

Headed by Arafat, who died in 2004, then by Abbas, the Authority has exercised executive and legislative authority and has theoretically been responsible for security in the West Bank.

Netanyahu called early elections for January 22 in Israel, with his right-wing coalition expected to win.

Comments 5
Missing phillipo 28 December 2012, 12:14

What does he mean "no Israeli movement toward renewing peace talks".
Netanyahu had been almost pleading with Abbas fro over two years to come back to peace talks. Now he has the nerve to say that Israeli doesn't want to talk.
How shameful. He is just looking for an excuse so that he will not be the Palestinian leader who makes compromises with Israel to reach peace, something he learned very well from his predecessor, Arafat, who missed every chance possible not to come to an agreement.

Missing anonymetexasusa 28 December 2012, 16:24

Oh philipo
Back to your old pitching slogans. Don't strain yourself, no one is buying...All 120 Nations. They all know Netanyahu is a big liar, and what Netanyahu was pleading Abbas to sit down with him, and watch from Netenyahu's office window how Israeli government slowly but surely builds and grabs more East Jerusalem and West Bank, while Netanyahu distract Abbas & PA with long negociations that Netanyahu has no intention to let it lead to a 2 state solution...Netanyahu could surely pretend to negociate for a 2 state solution. Natanyahu has proven by action that he is dead against it, and more importantly his Israeli voters are dead against it.

Missing anonymetexasusa 28 December 2012, 16:25

Abbas has nothing but to gain from Negociation...It is Natanyahu who doesn't want to compromise and give up East Jerusalem and West Bank.
Abbas is giving the Israelis an Ultimatum...either go forward with 2 state solution and hand over East Jerusalem & West Bank, or go ahead Annex them all, and become the 1 state solution...No room for double face double talk anymore...

Missing phillipo 28 December 2012, 19:08

"Abbas has nothing but to gain from Negociation"
Totally in agreement with you, but he doesn't want to sit down and talk.
Get him and Netanyahu into the same room together, lock the door and do as they do in the Vatican, wait until the white smoke emerges.

Missing anonymetexasusa 28 December 2012, 19:33

That's exactly what Natanyahu wants...
Get Abbas in a room, lock the door, and wait..wait...wait...wait...and wait for decades, as Natanyahu keeps playing the negociation trick on Abbas, while his government let settlement goes on fast track to eat up more, and more and more of the land that Palestinians are hoping to get to build their nation on.