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.

 

Congress approves Iran sanctions extension

Pentagon says IS jihadists making 'last stand' in Sirte

Staggering casualty toll in Mosul offensive

Putin getting admirers from US to Europe to Syria

Qarawiyyin library holds written wonders

Syria regime seizes half of rebel parts of Aleppo

Europol warns of changing IS tactics

Palestinian contenders for Fatah posts set to declare

Protests erupt in Istanbul over ‘Aleppo massacre’

Aleppo family reunited after war kept them apart for months

Syria rebels put up fight for key Aleppo district

Obama unlikely to act on Israel-Palestine before leaving office

UN says torture 'widespread' after Turkey coup

International push aims to protect endangered heritage

Journalist's body found shot in Iraq’s Kurdish region

Iran urges Kenya to release two of its citizens

Morocco business diplomacy at heart of strategy to rejoin African Union

Turkish prosecutor calls for drop of Gaza ship charges against Israelis

Iran preparing ‘appropriate’ response to US sanctions renewal

Saudi government detects fresh hacking attempts

Iraq faces post-IS problem in Shiite militias

Turkey detains business executive for alleged Gulen links

Putin says Russia not looking for enemies

Tunisia sentences protesters to 14 years in jail

Saudi increases jail term for rights activist to 11 years

Misery deepens for Mosul refugees with heavy rain

Turkish parliament to vote on bill expanding Erdogan’s power

UN envoy to Yemen, President meet in new peace bid

Syrian Grand Mufti rejects terrorism claims

Qatar blocks popular news website

Desperate civilians brave Aleppo front line

OPEC spares Iran oil production cuts

Minister says Abbas is Israel's top 'ideological' foe

Erdogan insists Syria operation only targets terrorists

Kuwait opposition must form strong coalition to be effective

Russian FM denies Russia, Syria to blame for Turkish deaths

UN warns of ‘giant graveyard’ in Aleppo as Syrian troops advance

Nobel laureates call for protection of heritage sites

OPEC output cut boosts oil price

Morocco accuses AU chair of blocking readmission

Israel delays Knesset vote on mosque volume, settler homes

Mayors from world’s biggest cities plot Trump-era climate plan

Syria rebels, Russia hold Aleppo talks in Ankara

Russia demands explanation over Erdogan vow to oust Assad

Prospects for Palestine remain grim