Sunday, April 15, 2012

Palestinian Authority has lost its ‘raison d’etre,’ Abbas to tell Netanyahu English

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas raises concerns over the slide towards a bi-national state in a letter to Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu. (AP)
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas raises concerns over the slide towards a bi-national state in a letter to Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu. (AP)
Israel’s actions have stripped the Palestinian Authority (PA) of its “raison d’etre” creating a reality which cannot continue, Mahmoud Abbas will say in a letter to Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu.

In the letter, which will be delivered to Netanyahu this week, the Palestinian leader warns that “the current status quo cannot continue” and raises concerns over the slide towards a bi-national state.

“As a result of actions taken by successive Israeli governments, the Palestinian National Authority no longer has any authority, and no meaningful jurisdiction in the political, economic, territorial and security spheres,” he writes in the letter, a copy of which was seen by AFP on Sunday.

“In other words, the PA lost its raison d’etre which, if it continues, will make it unable to honor its commitments,” he says in reference to the multiple agreements signed with Israel since the 1993 Oslo Accords, which brought about the creation of the Palestinian Authority a year later.
“We want to avoid sliding towards the one-state option, especially as the current status quo cannot continue,” Abbas writes.

The letter is due to be handed to Netanyahu by a delegation of senior Palestinian officials led by prime minister Salam Fayyad who will meet with the Israeli leader in Jerusalem later this week.

It will be the first top-level meeting between the two sides since the peace process ground to a halt more than 18 months ago in a bitter dispute over Jewish settlement building.

Abbas asks Israel to outline “as soon as possible” its positions on four key issues: the principle of a two-state solution based on the pre-1967 borders, halting all settlement activity, the release of all Palestinian prisoners, and the revocation of all decisions which undermine agreements between the two sides since 2000.

“We stand ready to immediately resume negotiations the minute we receive your positive response on these points,” he writes, reiterating his long-standing position − no talks without Israel agreeing to halt settlement activity and accept the 1967 borders as the basis for any future dialogue.

He also reiterates the Palestinians’ commitment to non-violence, and asks for Israel’s understanding over the issue of Jewish settlements.

“I reiterate our full commitment to a policy of zero tolerance against violence. At the same token, I expect the government of Israel’s understanding that settlement building is eroding the Palestinian people’s trust in Israel’s commitment to reconciliation and the idea of the two-states solution,” he says.

“The logic is simple: If the Israeli government supports the establishment of a Palestinian state, why does it build on the territory of this state?”

Direct peace talks which were launched in September 2010 broke down just weeks later in a dispute over Jewish settlement building.

Since then, international efforts to draw the two sides back into dialogue have repeatedly failed.

In January, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators held five exploratory meetings aimed at seeking a way back to the negotiating table, but the talks ended without any agreement on how to proceed.

Netanyahu is also preparing his own letter to give to Abbas which will be handed over by Israel’s chief negotiator, Yitzak Molcho, when he meets the Palestinian leader in the coming weeks.

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