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.

 

Russian, Turkish FMs meet for first time since ties repaired

Four ministers sacked from Libya's unity government

At least 70 killed in north of Syria's Aleppo

Iranians mark annual Quds Day

Egypt becoming departure country for migrants to Europe

Turkish ship carrying Gaza aid leaves for Israel

Diplomatic quartet says Israel must cease settlement expansion

Monitor says Syrian regime pilot captured by rebels

Palestinian dies from tear gas fired by Israeli forces

Palestinian tries to stab Israeli in West Bank, shot dead

Ankara suicide attack mastermind killed

Istanbul airport attackers ‘planned hostage-taking’

Oil prices rise in Asia

US Navy probe finds leadership failings in Iran capture

Quartet report says Israel must urgently halt illegal settlement expansion

At least 70 killed in northern Aleppo clashes

Sisi praises Egyptian 'revolution' against Morsi

US-backed Syria rebels look to cut off ISIS from Iraq border

Egyptian Coptic priest shot dead in El-Arish

Iran sacks heads of four state banks over high pay

EU agrees to opens new chapter with Turkey on accession talks

Detained RSF Turkey representative released

Lebanese army says ISIS attacks foiled, 5 arrested

UN extends Darfur mission despite Sudan opposition

Air strikes kill 150 militants fleeing Fallujah

Turkey detains 13 over airport attack

Palestinian killed by Israeli troops after deadly attack

UN envoy seeks Syria peace talks’ resumption in July

Tunisian killed in Istanbul attack seeking to repatriate IS-linked son

Turkish forces kill 2 suspected IS jihadists at Syria border

Egypt president urges religious reforms to counter extremists

First aid convoy since 2012 enters two besieged Syria towns

Race to succeed Cameron begins after stunning Brexit vote

Yemen peace talks to take two-week break

Iraq secures $2.7 billion US military loan

ISIS pushes back Syria rebel offensive on Iraq route

Israel cabinet approves Turkey reconciliation deal

Turkey airport attack slams limping tourism industry

Putin lifts Turkey travel restrictions, orders trade 'normalised'

Fears for stranded Syrian refugees as Jordan blocks access

Bahrain activist back in jail despite worsening health

41 killed in Istanbul airport bomb, gun attacks

Witnesses recount Istanbul attack

Car bomb kills 10 in Kurdish-held Syria town

Ban to Israeli PM: Gaza blockade ‘collective punishment’