Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas appeared on television Wednesday to clearly outline his government's demands ahead of a scheduled US-hosted peace summit with Israel next month.
In the interview, Abbas stated that he will accept nothing less than a full and complete Israeli withdrawal from 6,205 square kilometers of land, which is all of Judea, Samaria, the Gaza Strip and the eastern half of Jerusalem. The wording used by Abbas suggested he is open to discuss land swaps, including small pieces of Israeli territory in exchange for established Jewish settlement blocs in Judea and Samaria.
In Jerusalem, however, the Abbas regime is unwilling to compromise.
Israeli officials fear that Abbas' increasingly hardline demands will doom the summit before it ever begins, reported The Associated Press. The government of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has indicated a willingness to make sweeping concessions to the Palestinians, but not to the extent Abbas is insisting on.
Furthermore, Olmert said earlier this week he does not expect a final status agreement to be concluded with the Palestinians for many years yet, and certainly not before the threat of anti-Israel Palestinian terrorism is eliminated. Abbas and the wider Arab world remain adamant that a comprehensive and final deal must be struck immediately.
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