A senior government official on Thursday rejected a claim by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas that he sent Israel a formal warning before he applied for membership in 15 international organizations at the start of April.
Abbas told The Times of Israel on Wednesday that prior to applying to the organizations, he sent a formal letter to Netanyahu’s peace emissary, Yitzhak Molcho, and to the American special envoy, Martin Indyk, in which he said that if Israel did not free a fourth and final batch of long-term prisoners as promised, he would apply to join the 15 groups. The PA president also said he held off on the implementation of what had been a decision by the Palestinian leadership to join the organizations for two days to see if the Israeli government would change its position.
The Israeli official flatly dismissed this claim. “In stark contrast to Abu Mazen’s [Abbas] statement, the letter he mentioned never reached the attorney Yitzhak Molcho,” the administrator said.
Israel balked at releasing the fourth group of prisoners because Abbas sought the freeing of Israeli Arabs as part of the group and because he had not committed to extending the peace talks beyond the end of April deadline.
In an interview with The Times of Israel on Wednesday, Abbas said the Palestinian Authority will not seek help from additional UN and other international organizations in the near future.
Abbas said the Palestinians are instead currently waiting to see what diplomatic developments will ensue in the aftermath of last month’s collapse of peace negotiations.
The Times of Israel has established that Israel is aware of Abbas’s decision not to turn to international organizations as part of the Palestinian push to statehood in the near future.
Abbas’s comments to this effect stand in contrast to the Palestinian leadership’s statements over the last few weeks that it does intend to turn to the UN and other international organizations in the wake of the peace talks’ failure.