Abbas rejects temporary state in Israel


Abbas rejects temporary state in Israel

RAMALLAH, West Bank — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday rejected the establishment of a Palestinian state within temporary borders, an idea he said was recently proposed for restarting peace talks.

By (Agencies)

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Published: Sun 25 Apr 2010, 9:05 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 5:36 AM

In a speech to leaders of his Fatah movement, Abbas urged Israel to resume serious negotiations on the terms of full Palestinian statehood, adding that such talks should wrap up within two years.

Israel and the Palestinians remain far apart on the framework for such talks, and US Mideast envoy George Mitchell returned to the region on Friday for a new push to narrow the differences.

The US has proposed indirect talks in which Mitchell would shuttle between Israeli and Palestinian leaders. However, the Palestinians say they won’t engage unless Israel agrees not to start new housing projects for Jews in traditionally Arab east Jerusalem, claimed by the Palestinians as a capital. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly rejected a building freeze in east Jerusalem.

The Palestinians want a state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, areas Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast War. They also seek a freeze of all settlement construction before a resumption of peace talks.

In his speech, Abbas referred to recent proposals — apparently from Israel — for a temporary state but did not elaborate. ‘Frankly, we will not accept the state with temporary borders, because it is being offered these days,’ he said.

He said the Palestinians were being asked to ‘take a state with provisional borders on 40 or 50 percent, and after that we will see.’

Israeli government officials were not immediately available for comment on Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath.

Abbas aide Nabil Abu Rdeneh denied that Israel officially raised the idea.

However, a Palestinian academic said Israel offered Abbas such a state on more than 50 percent of the West Bank. The academic said he served as a go-between for the two sides and spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief reporters.

A Palestinian state with provisional borders is part of the U.S.-backed ‘road map’ peace plan as an interim step toward full independence.

The temporary state would only be established on parts of the territory the Palestinians want for their state. However, the road map never got off the ground and the Palestinians have repeatedly rejected provisional statehood, fearing the temporary borders would become the final ones.

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton also brushed aside the notion when asked about it Friday. ‘So there’s a lot of ideas that have been floated around, but at the end of the day it’s only the Israelis and Palestinians who can make decisions for themselves,’ she said.

Abbas, meanwhile, called for an open dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians, saying time for a so-called two-state solution is running out, despite strong support on both sides.

‘I call for an open dialogue with all Israeli factions, leaders, an open dialogue,’ he said. ‘We are ready for dialogue, because we know the overwhelming majority of Israelis support the two-state solution.’

In the Gaza Strip on Saturday, Israeli gunfire wounded two Palestinians and a woman from Malta who were among a group of protesters marching toward the border with Israel, according to Palestinian health official Moawiya Hassanain and pro-Palestinian activists.

Israel has declared areas of Gaza near its border to be no-go zones, citing security concerns. Palestinian militants frequently approach the border fence to try to plant explosives. However, the order also keeps Palestinian farmers from their fields.

In recent months, farmers and foreign supporters have frequently marched toward the border to protest the restrictions.

The injured foreigner was identified by fellow activists as Bianca Zammit of Malta. ‘They had no reason to shoot us. We posed no threat to them whatsoever,’ Zammit told AP Television News from a hospital bed.

The Israeli military had no immediate comment.

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