Sunday, December 19, 2010

After rejecting Israel's majority ruling leaders call for peace talks, Abbas turns to the left minority in cry for peace

(Ynet).Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met with meeting with some 100 Israelis at his headquarters in Ramallah on Sunday and told them that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had informed him that he could not extend the settlement construction moratorium because such a move would lead to his government's "collapse."

Among those who took part in the meeting at the Mukataa compound were former Labor Chairman Amram Mitzna, Meretz Chairman Chaim Oron and former Meretz Knesset Member Zehava Gal-On, as well as Likud activists, senior reporters and even a number of ultra-Orthodox representatives.

During the meeting, which was organized by the Geneva Initiative, Abbas claimed that when he told Netanyahu he could not move forward in the negotiations without a settlement freeze, the Israeli premier presented a "list of excuses, and that was the end of it. It was our last meeting at the prime minister's residence in Jerusalem."

Abbas said that before the September summit in Washington, the Americans promised that Netanyahu would agree to continue the building freeze, but that that did not happen. The Palestinian leader also spoke of Ehud Olmert's term, saying the former Israeli prime minister's representatives refused to negotiate during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza.

Abbas told the visiting Israelis that the Palestinians had agreed to the presence of a third party, such as NATO, in their territory following the declaration of an independent state. Egypt and Jordan also agreed to this, the Palestinian leader said.

"I am telling you this because we will not agree to return to the starting point of the negotiations and we cannot forgo the 1967 borders," Abbas said.

He concluded on a personal note. "I have eight grandchildren, and I want them to live in peace and security. You see we have replaced a culture of violence and terror with a culture of peace. We don't want any more bloodshed like what happened in Gaza yesterday.