Palestinians say unwilling to compromise for peace

Tuesday, September 07, 2010 |  Ryan Jones

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas clarified for his people on Monday that he intends to make not even one concession or compromise in direct peace negotiations with Israel, and that for a final status peace to be achieved, Israel will have to fully meet all Arab demands and abandon its own conditions.

First and foremost, Abbas told Palestinian newspapers that if the Jewish building freeze in Judea and Samaria (the so-called "West Bank") is not extended indefinitely, the negotiations will come to an immediate halt. But Abbas also said he would walk out of the talks if he is pressured at all to alter the Palestinians' more hardline positions.

"If they demand concessions on the rights of the refugees or the 1967 borders, I will quit. I can’t allow myself to make even one concession," Abbas told the Palestinian newspaper Al-Ayyam.

Abbas was referring to the Palestinian demand that Israel solve the purported "Palestinian refugee" issue by opening its border to millions of new Arab citizens. Abbas has long championed that demand, despite the fact that it would mean the demographic destruction of the Jewish state. Even Israel's most liberal politicians reject the so-called "right of return."

The Palestinian leader's position on the issue was two-faced, as he then turned around and insisted that an independent Palestinian state created by the current peace process must not have a single Jew living in it. "We clarified that [the Palestinian Authority] would not agree to continued Israeli presence, military or civil, within a future Palestinian state," Abbas said.

In speaking of the 1967 borders, Abbas made it clear that he will not allow Israel to maintain control over a united Jerusalem as part of any peace deal. Up until 1967, the eastern half of Jerusalem was illegally occupied by Jordan. The Palestinians now claim it as their rightful capital.

Abbas reiterated his position in an interview with Jerusalem-based Arabic newspaper Al-Quds when he rejected Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's talk of a historic compromise between the two sides in order to reach a durable peace agreement.

Abbas also addressed Netanyahu's demand that the Palestinians must recognize Israel as "the Jewish state."

"We're not talking about a Jewish state and we won't talk about one," Abbas said. "For us, there is the state of Israel and we won't recognize Israel as a Jewish state."

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