Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday renewed his threat to unilaterally seek UN recognition of a Palestinian state in response to Israel's refusal to accept his conditions for resuming the peace talks.
Abbas, meanwhile, met with US Consul-General Daniel Rubinstein and discussed with him the latest developments surrounding efforts to resume the stalled peace talks.
Abbas, according to one of his aides, told the US diplomat that he was disappointed with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's recent reply to a letter he sent him last month.
In the letter, Abbas outlined his conditions for returning to the negotiating table, demanding Israeli recognition of the pre-1967 lines as the basis for future peace talks, a full cessation of construction in the settlements and east Jerusalem and the release of Palestinian prisoners.
PA officials have expressed disappointment with Netanyahu's response, which was delivered to Abbas two weeks ago by the prime minister's envoy, Yitzhak Molcho.
They said the response was "vague" and did not include "clear answers" to Abbas's letter.
Abbas's latest threat to resume his statehood bid at the UN was made during an interview published Thursday with the Lebanese daily An-Nahhar.
Abbas also told the paper that the exchange of letters between him and Netanyahu has reached a "deadlock."
Abbas said that he was expecting the Americans to come forward with "new ideas" to revive the peace process.
He said that any idea should include a freeze of settlement construction and recognition of the pre-1967 lines "with some land swaps."
Otherwise, Abbas cautioned, "we will go to the UN to extract a seat for Palestine as a non member state."
Abbas also reiterated his refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, saying the PLO, by signing the Oslo Accords, had recognized Israel. "We won't agree to recognize something called the Jewish state," Abbas stressed. "Why wasn't this issue raised when Israel negotiated with Jordan and Egypt?"
He added that the new coalition in Israel made Netanyahu's government one of the most powerful in the history of Israel. "Because it's a strong government, it should be able to solve the problem with us," Abbas said. "But the question is not whether it is capable of doing so, but whether it has a desire," the PA president pointed out.