Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared his commitment to a strong Palestinian Authority (PA), rebutting an open letter by former Israeli minister Yossi Beilin that called on him to dissolve the PA.
“Dissolving the PA is not so simple,” Abbas told journalists during an official visit to Japan Saturday. “The PA is an achievement and we must not dissolve it but strengthen it.”
Beilin, a key proponent of the Oslo peace process and a signatory of the Geneva Peace Initiative, published an article in Foreign Policy magazine April 4 calling on Abbas to “return the keys” of the PA to Israel due to the intransigence of the Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu.
“You and I both understand that the current situation is a ticking time bomb,” wrote Beilin. “A declaration of the end of the Oslo process — justified by the fact that the path to a permanent-status agreement is blocked — is the most reasonable, nonviolent option for putting the subject back on the world’s agenda, with the aim of renewing genuine efforts to reach a conclusive solution.”
On Saturday Abbas did not rule out the option of internationalizing the Palestinian-Israeli track by returning to the UN for recognition as a non-member state. But he suggested that dissolving the PA would amount to “repeating the mistake of 1948 and the mistake of 1967.”
Abbas is expected to deliver a strongly-worded letter to Netanyahu later this week, in which he will demand a moratorium to construction in settlements and Israeli recognition of a Palestinian state on the pre-1967 borders. Abbas said he would await an Israeli answer to his letter as well as American pressure on Israel to implement Palestinian conditions before turning to the UN.
“If no result comes of these steps, we will certainly think of turning to the UN,” Abbas told PA mouthpiece Al-Ayyam.
Abbas himself had repeatedly threatened to dissolve the PA in the past if no progress was made in direct peace negotiations with Israel.