Khaled Abu Toameh
The Jerusalem Post
October 15, 2010 - 12:00am

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Thursday that it was none of the Palestinians’ business if Israel wanted to call itself a Jewish state, or anything else.

“If the Israelis want to call themselves any name, they should address the international community and the United Nations, because this is none of our business,” Abbas told reporters after meeting with Finnish President Tarja Halonen in Ramallah.

Abbas said that the PLO had recognized Israel when the Oslo Accords were signed in 1993.

“Our position is that we recognize Israel,” he said. “We fully believe in the two state solution – a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders and the State of Israel, living next to each other in peace and security. This is the best option for both peoples, and we must not distance ourselves from the two-state solution.”

Abbas urged the government to halt settlement construction so that the two parties could talk about core issues such as Jerusalem, refugees and settlements.

“We must focus on hope and not failure,” he declared.

The PA president added that the Arab leaders who met in Libya earlier this month had agreed to give the US one month to find a solution to the problem of settlement construction.

He said the Palestinians were ready to return to the direct talks as soon as Israel renewed the moratorium on settlement construction.

“We are ready to start the talks with the issues of borders and security,” he continued. “We remain committed to the option of peace, and there’s no way back from it.”

Abbas expressed hope that the US administration would succeed in its efforts to convince Israel to stop building in the settlements so that the peace talks would resume.


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