First Published: 2012-12-28

 

Abbas to Netanyahu: peace talks or take my chair

 

Palestinian President warns of disbanding PA if there is no Israeli movement toward renewing peace talks.

 

Middle East Online

Talks between the two sides have been on hold since September 2010

JERUSALEM - Palestinian president Mahmud 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 Organisation.

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.

 

Warring Syrians set for first face-to-face at Astana

Turkey moves closer to expanding Erdogan powers

IS demolishes more monuments in recaptured Palmyra

Bodies of firemen recovered from Tehran tower

Police, ruling party hit by attacks in Istanbul

Bomb kills 4 in refugee camp near Syrian border with Jordan

Egypt says political solution 'only way' for Libya ahead of talks

Turkey concedes including Assad in Syria talks

Netanyahu congratulates ‘friend’ Trump in tweet

Israel denounces Belgian plan to interrogate ex-minister

Denmark grants soldiers permission to fight IS in Syria

Car bomb near Benghazi mosque wounds 12

UN calls IS destruction of Palmyra relics ‘war crime’

Armed settlers rescued from angry Palestinian villagers

Petition filed for Israeli court to return body of Bedouin

29 Yemen rebels killed by Saudi-led air strikes

Iran losing hope of saving trapped firefighters

Algeria’s Islamist parties unite ahead of April elections

British worker dies on Qatar 2022 World Cup site

Search continues for trapped Iran firefighters

More than 40 jihadists killed in north Syria air strikes

Trump to be sworn in as 45th US president

Trump to retain envoy to anti-IS coalition

More than 20 firefighters feared dead in Tehran building collapse

Explosions in Gaza target Fatah member

UN expert tells Saudi to end ban on women driving

Desalination plant opens in Gaza to tackle water crisis

Syria’s Assad hopes rebels disarm after Astana talks

UN says 400,000 Syrian child refugees in Turkey not in school

Libya PM skips Davos to focus on electricity crisis

Greece, Cyprus insist peace deal must include Turkish withdrawal

Mistura to lead UN delegation at Astana Syria talks

Turkey slams French satire song about Istanbul attack

Saudi minister says kingdom to become ‘softer’ after reforms

Bahrain lifts ban on electronic Al-Wasat newspaper

Arab Israelis strike in protest over house demolitions

Iran sees Syria talks as opportunity to gain influence

Kuwait upholds sentence for three royals for insulting judges

Tunisia facing mounting calls against jail-for-joint law

Iran's oldest high-rise building on fire collapses

IMF says Egypt on track for next aid tranche

Bahrain police disperse Shiite protesters

Key Syria rebel group opts out of Astana peace talks

Moroccan Sufi ‘living master’ dies at 95

France says Iraqi jihadist among 2015 stadium bombers