Abbas declared that he had fulfilled his political platform by "improving the situation in the West Bank and continued the aid to the Gaza Strip despite the Hamas overtake." He added that Hamas had thwarted all Egyptian reconciliation efforts.
Abbas stressed that despite efforts by fellow Fatah officials to dissuade him, his decision was "neither reversible nor debatable."
The PA president explained that the obstacles standing in the way of peace and reconciliation had caused him to decide to leave the political arena. Israel is implementing a policy that is destroying all peace efforts, he said, adding that the US had backpedaled on its Mideast policy by refusing to press Israel to freeze settlement construction.
"We have to abide by the UN resolutions and agreements, as well as the Arab peace initiative and vision for a two-state solution," he stated, adding that there was still a possibility that he would "take steps" in the future to promote the Palestinian cause.
Abbas went on to outline the issues on which the Palestinians had yet to reach an agreement with Israel. "There is no legitimacy for the continuation of settlements on Palestinian land," he asserted, speaking also of the need for solutions on the issues of water resources and refugees.
As for his vision for the future Palestinian state to be established within the framework of a comprehensive peace agreement, Abbas proclaimed that Israel and the Palestinians would have to "go back and agree to the '67 borders" while making arrangements to establish "a Palestinian capital in east Jerusalem."
Security forces should be deployed along the future Palestinian state's border with Israel, said Abbas, "allowing the Palestinians to use all resources on their legitimate land." He added that any agreement with Israel would also take into account the release "of all Palestinian prisoners."
Abbas stressed that "the difficulties of the current situation" were no excuse for political disorder, explaining that for this reason he had announced that presidential elections would be held in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip on Jan. 24, 2010. "By then," he said, "we would have hoped to achieve our national unity."
The PA president denounced the actions of rival faction Hamas, which had threatened to boycott the elections and prevent them from being held in Gaza. Hamas is obstinate, he said, and should reconsider its position.
"It is time for the world to put an end to our suffering," said Abbas, thus concluding what the Palestinian media called "a significant speech to his people."
Actually, perhaps it is time for the Palestinian people to put an end to their own suffering: to agree to peace with Israel on terms similar to the The Clinton Bridging Proposals, to stop insisting on "Right" of Return for refugees, allow for at least some Jewish rights in East Jerusalem, and demand that Palestinian refugees must be helped to resettle in Arab and Western countries, ending their long and pointless suffering in refugee camps. If Abbas wanted to help his people, he would have made those proposals, which no Israeli or American government could refuse, and he would have had the backing of almost the entire world.
What may be in store in the months ahead? There are several possibilities. One is that Abbas's final, absolutely final resignation is a ploy to get the United States to force Israel to implement a settlement freeze. Assuming the United States will take the bait, how much pressure would they apply to Israel and how will the government of Benjamin Netanyahu respond? Another possibility is that there will not be elections. A rumor to that effect has been floating about for some days. A third possibility is that a successor to Abbas will be found who can keep the Fatah and less extreme Palestinian polity together. Salem Fayyad, the moderate Prime Minister, has been suggested by some. Fayyad does not have a political base though. He is an independent with little political support from organizations. He is too moderate to be accepted by Fatah, and possible too incorruptible to join them. A fourth possibility is that the Fatah-PLO based Palestinian Authority government will fall apart, or be taken over by the Hamas.
Palestinians should "refocus their attention on the one-state solution where Muslims, Christians and Jews can live as equals," Erekat said. "It is very serious. This is the moment of truth for us."
In other words, if Israel will not agree to Palestinian peace terms that amount to destruction of Israel, then Palestinians should seek to destroy Israel in another way. Erekat knows that there are no states in the Middle East except Israel where Muslims, Christians and Jews live as equals, and there have never been such states since the advent of Islam.
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