October 14, 2010 - 12:00am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday urged the international Quartet for Middle East peace to find alternative solutions to end the Israeli occupation and give the Palestinians a homeland.

Abbas made the comments at a joint press conference in Ramallah with visiting Finnish President Tarja Halonen.

"We want a state on the lands occupied in 1967 and to live in peace with our neighbors, including Israel," Abbas said.

He also said that the he gave the Israelis a new opportunity to restart peace talks, referring to a one-month additional time given to the United States to convince Israel to freeze settlement construction.

If America succeeds to persuade Israel to halt settlement building, Abbas said, "we will directly go for face-to-face negotiations."

The Palestinians broke off direct peace talks with Israel a few weeks after they started last month as Israel refused to renew a previous decision to freeze settlement construction.

An Arab League (AL) committee on the peace process endorsed the Palestinian decision and urged the Americans to find a way out and get things back to normal.

Abbas warned recently that he may seek new alternatives if the United States failed to make the Israelis stop settlement activities in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

The alternatives include approaching the UN Security Council to get a recognition of independence, or going to the UN General Assembly to put the Palestinian territories under international custody since they are classified as occupied.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017