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Abbas Resists Suggested Peace Negotiations With Israel

Catherine Green |
September 24, 2011 | 2:54 p.m. PDT

Executive Producer

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, with President Obama in 2009. (Peter Souza, Wikimedia Commons)
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, with President Obama in 2009. (Peter Souza, Wikimedia Commons)
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has said he may refuse to engage in any peace negotiations with Israel, a plan suggested by a formidable group of mediators—the U.S., European Union, United Nations and Russia.

Just after the Palestinian leader submitted a formal request for statehood Friday, representatives from the international powers made moves to resume peace talks between the undefined country and Israel. The New York Times reported the plan was in an effort to delay what would undoubtedly be "a contentious vote."

According to The Times:

In a day full of diplomatic theater, Mr. Abbas and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel each laid out the tangled history of their bloody conflict in passionate, lengthy speeches less than an hour apart, while the United States, Russia and European powers haggled in a back room for a formula to bring the parties back to the negotiating table and prevent the Palestinian bid for membership from becoming a spur for violence.

Known as the Middle East Quartet, the international cohort said they hoped Palestine and Israel would be persuaded to come back to negotiations in a month's time.

But Abbas said Saturday he's not interested in any plan that does not call for an end to Israeli settlement building.

CBS News reported:

Abbas told reporters, without explaining, that he expected the Council to take action within weeks, not months. With Council support necessary to be admitted to the U.N. as a state, the Palestinians are expected to ask the U.N. General Assembly, where they enjoy broad support, to grant them a more modest status upgrade to nonmember observer state from permanent observer.

On board his plane, Abbas described himself as exhausted by the international efforts to wear him down but buoyant when he explained in a speech to the General Assembly why he had sidestepped the negotiating process that had been the cornerstone of international Mideast policy for nearly two decades.

The pressure "didn't affect our spirits to reach the target and to deliver the Palestinian message officially," he said.

The UN Security Council will begin to review Palestine's request for statehood Monday. The move is expected to fail, but whether that will be due to a lack of support from the required 9 of 15 Council members or a direct veto from the U.S. remains to be seen.

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