The Palestinian Authority (PA) condemned the speech given by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the US Congress and asserted that his policies will not lead to a lasting peace.
The PA also rejected a call by Netanyahu to abrogate the reconciliation agreement between the Fatah and Hamas branches, which rule the West Bank and Gaza, respectively.
According to a report in The Jerusalem Post, Nabil Abu Rudaineh, a spokesman for PA President Mahmoud Abbas, said that his agreement will not accept any Israeli presence in a Palestinian state, in a reference to Netanyahu’s vow that Israel would maintain control over the Jordan Valley.
“We won’t accept any Israeli presence in the Palestinian state, especially along the Jordan River,” Abu Rudaineh said.
“What Netanyahu proposed in his speech won’t lead to peace, but would instead place more obstacles in front of the peace process.”
Abu Rudaineh also declared that for the Palestinian people, peace would entail the formation of a Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 war borders lines, with east Jerusalem as its capital.
“Peace must be achieved on the basis of international legitimacy and negotiations and not on the basis of pre-conditions and obstacles to peace,” he said.
Along these same lines, Saeb Erekat, executive committee member of the PLO said that Netanyahu’s speech demonstrated clearly to Palestinians and Arabs that Israel is not interested in peace.
Erekat also said that the unification agreement between Fatah and Hamas will not be abandoned “because peace is based on reconciliation.”
The PLO official added that Netanyahu is “not a man of peace and did not bring anything new.” He further accused the Israeli PM of “mixing history with geography” in his speech.
Yesterday, Erekat told Army Radio that peace talks can only be based on redrawing the maps of Israel and Palestine to the pre-1967 period.
Until we hear that, I think it would be a waste of time to speak about any other issue, he said. If Netanyahu thinks that 1967 lines are an illusion, then peace for him is an illusion.