Ma'an News Agency
May 26, 2011 - 12:00am

President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of pushing the peace process back further than ever, the official Palestinian news agency reported.

Speaking at the opening of a meeting for the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah, Abbas said Netanyahu “has shown us, in addition to the many mistakes and distortions, that he moved very far from the peace process.”

He added: “There was nothing that we could build positively on. We look at his speech negatively.”

The president stressed that the Palestinian reconciliation deal, which Netanyahu warned Abbas to pull out of, is “a major Palestinian interest that we should complete and implement,” according to WAFA news agency.

Obama’s speech on the boundaries of the Palestinian state based on 1967 armistice lines and with borders to Jordan, Egypt and Israel was “something we can deal positively with,” WAFA quoted Abbas as saying.

However, Netanyahu’s speech “had many errors and bigger distortions. He moved very far from the peace process.”

Speaking to reporters in Ramallah on Wednesday, Abbas accused Netanyahu of preempting talks by laying out his own solutions to final status questions.

"There is an end-point for these negotiations, meaning they will not continue forever. We have to specify a timeframe and a framework... including all the final status issues: borders, security, Jerusalem, settlements, refugees, water," he said.

"We do not accept that solutions to these issues will be presented before negotiations happen, which is what Mr. Netanyahu did," Abbas said.

"Our first choice is negotiations, but if there is no progress before September we will go to the United Nations," Abbas added, a position echoed by several PA officials earlier Wednesday.

In Gaza, meanwhile, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh rejected Netanyahu's plea for Abbas to "tear up" the unity deal signed this month in Cairo, saying, "We will tear up the occupation."

The unity deal inked in Cairo on May 4 "must be implemented honestly and accurately," Haniyeh said.

In his speech to a rare joint session of the US legislature Tuesday, Netanyahu ruled out any negotiations until Abbas severs ties with Hamas.

"Israel is prepared to sit down today and negotiate peace with the Palestinian Authority. I believe we can fashion a brilliant future of peace for our children. But Israel will not negotiate with a Palestinian government backed by the Palestinian version of Al-Qaeda."

And he blamed the Palestinians for the failure to reach a peace deal over the last two decades.

"President Abbas must do what I have done. I stood before my people, and I told you it wasn't easy for me, and I said 'I will accept a Palestinian state,'" Netanyahu said.

"It is time for President Abbas to stand before his people and say: 'I will accept a Jewish state,'" Netanyahu said. "Those six words will change history."


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