Abbas: Negotiations with Israel ‘Still On The Table’

05 Mar
5:28 AM

PA President and Fateh member Mahmoud Abbas, Wednesday, said talks with Israel are still on the table, despite failed moves at the UN and numerous past rounds of fruitless fruitless efforts at negotiations.Abbas was addressing Palestinian leadership at the opening of a two-day conference in the West Bank to discuss the future of the Palestinian Authority, whose existence is under threat after Israel cut off the organization’s tax revenues, a key source of PA funding.

‘We ask all countries of the world to recognize the state of Palestine,’ he said, according to Ma’an News Agency.

‘But we want to say to the Israeli side, these recognitions do not mean in any way that we do not want to negotiate, or that we’re running away from negotiations.’

US-backed talks between the PA and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government collapsed in April, after nine months of failed meetings amid bitter recriminations and mutual blame.

Relations have since further deteriorated, after a devastating Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip during the summer, and with Palestinian moves against the Israelis in the international arena.

Palestinian officials submitted a UN Security Council resolution in December — which was voted down — calling for an end to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank within two years, and, in January, joined the International Criminal Court, where they plan to press for war crimes against Israel.

See: Palestine to Join ICC on April 1st

Israel has, in response, frozen $127 million per month in tax revenues due the PA, depriving it of most of its funds and rendering it unable to pay tens of thousands of employees.

‘This is the third month in a row that we’re taking loans from the banks,’ Abbas said, adding that a ‘political solution’ was the best way to end the deadlock.

The Palestinian Authority remains in close coordination with Israeli security, despite President Abbas’ threats to end the affiliation, amid a state of escalating tensions in the region.

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