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Mahmoud Abbas: Palestine committed to peace, negotiations with Israel

Mahmoud Abbas

 Jerusalem, Sep 14 (UITV/IANS) - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday said that the state he represents remains committed to peace and a negotiated settlement with Israel so long as these could be guaranteed by international law.

In an article to Efe news days after the US said it was closing the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington, Abbas said that Palestine was prepared and entitled to live side-by-side with Israel within the 1967 borders.

"Palestine remains committed to peace and negotiations based on international law and resolutions of international legitimacy," Abbas said in the article.

The White House had closed the delegation citing Palestinian refusal to sit down to negotiate and also to allegedly rejecting an as yet unpublished peace plan being prepared by Donald Trump's government, the report said.

Abbas, who wrote the article to mark the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Oslo Agreement, said he was prepared to "engage with Israel in good faith".

The Oslo pact was signed between Israel and Palestine on September 13, 1993, to effectively bring their conflict to its end by means of territorial concessions and facilitating the creation of the Palestinian Authority.

Abbas said that negotiations should be held within a multilateral framework and include international guarantees so that the outcome could be implemented with accountability and under the patronage of the UN.

Israel has long offered to resume peace negotiations, which stalled in 2014, but has said that it would only do so in the absence of preconditions, discarding Palestinian requirements which included a cessation of the growth of Israeli settlements in occupied territory and the release of prisoners jailed before the Oslo process.

Despite showing a willingness to engage in dialogue, Abbas also stated that Israel's violations of international law and UN resolutions had to be held to account. He said the Palestinian people were determined to move forward.

The Palestinian cause, Abbas warned, was at a dangerous crossroads with an Israeli government "that does not believe in peace" and "denies the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people" and a US government that, in his opinion, "no longer defends international values and law".

The relationship between Palestinians and the US reached its lowest point during the last 12 months.

The former have rejected Washington as a valid mediator in the conflict, considering it aligned with Israel after Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital and the transfer of its Embassy from Tel Aviv.

The Donald Trump administration also ceased funding the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, announced cuts to hospital aid and ordered the closure of the Washington office of the Palestine Liberation Organization.