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Middle east

Netanyahu is sabotaging peace plans, says Abbas

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-06-15

A spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Benjamin Netanyahu was “sabotaging” peace plans, shortly after the Israeli prime minister laid out in a speech his vision for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

REUTERS - A spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas dismissed a speech on Sunday by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as “sabotaging” peace efforts.

A senior Palestinian negotiator called on U.S. President Barack Obama to intervene to force Israel to abide by previous interim agreements that include freezing settlement activity in the West Bank. The alternative, he said, was violence.

“The peace process has been moving at the speed of a tortoise,” negotiator Saeb Erekat said.

“Tonight, Netanyahu has flipped it over on its back.”

Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rdainah said: “Netanyahu’s remarks have sabotaged all initiatives, paralysed all efforts being made and challenges the Palestinian, Arab and American positions.”

He noted Netanyahu’s demand that Jerusalem be the undivided capital of Israel and that Palestinian refugees not be allowed into Israel: “This will not lead to complete and just peace,” Abu Rdainah said.

“His remarks are not enough and will not lead to a solution.”

He described Netanyahu’s setting of a condition of demilitarisation as a condition for Israel agreeing to a Palestinian state as “detail”.

“Our main demand is the end of the occupation and finding a fair solution for Palestinian refugees and halting settlements,” Abu Rdainah said. “Other details should be resolved in negotiations.”

Erekat, one of the senior negotiators on Abbas’s team, said Palestinians needed to overcome the differences that have seen Hamas Islamists opposed to both Abbas and to interim accords reached with Israel seize control of the Gaza Strip.

He also appealed to Washington:

“President Obama, the ball is in your court tonight,” Erekat said. “You have the choice tonight. You can treat Netanyahu as a prime minister above the law and ... close off the path of peace tonight and set the whole region on the path of violence, chaos, extremism and bloodletting.

“The alternative is to make Netanyahu abide by the road map,” he said, referring to a U.S.-sponsored document under which Israel agreed to freeze settlement activity and Palestinians agreed to rein in militants hostile to Israel.

Date created : 2009-06-14

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