End Times News Update
Sign: Covenant With Many (Mideast peace news)
Scripture: Daniel 9:27
News Source: My Way News
Abbas says Israel must accept foreign border force

Jul 17, 2:19 PM (ET)

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said
he’ll resume direct peace talks if Israel accepts its 1967 frontier as
a baseline for the borders of a Palestinian state and agrees to the
deployment of an international force to guard them.

Abbas is under growing pressure from the United States to resume
negotiations, and met Saturday with President Barack Obama’s Mideast
envoy, George Mitchell.

Abbas’ latest comments, published Saturday in the Jordanian newspaper
Al-Ghad, hinted at some flexibility in his position. The Palestinian
leader did not mention a comprehensive Israeli settlement freeze as a
condition for negotiations – something he has underlined as crucial in
the past.

However, it seemed unlikely Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
would meet Abbas’ demands. Netanyahu has refused to be pinned down on
a framework for negotiations, insisting on talks without conditions.

The Palestinians are wary of entering talks with the hardline
Netanyahu, after 17 years of intermittent talks with a succession of
Israeli leaders failed to bring them any closer to statehood.

The Palestinians want to establish their state in the West Bank, Gaza
Strip and east Jerusalem, territories Israel captured in the 1967
Mideast War. Netanyahu has not said how much occupied territory he is
willing to relinquish for a Palestinian state. However, he has said he
will not give up control of Jerusalem and has insisted on a continued
Israeli troop presence on the eastern border of a future Palestinian

Negotiations between Abbas and Netanyahu’s predecessor, Ehud Olmert,
broke off in December 2008, on the eve of Israel’s military offensive
in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

Abbas has said that in these negotiations, he and Olmert reached an
agreement in principle on security arrangements, including the
deployment of an international force in the future Palestinian state.

The two leaders also discussed a possible land swap that would allow
Israel to annex some Jewish settlements on war-captured lands, and
compensate the Palestinians with an equal amount of Israeli land. The
two sides disagreed on the amount of land to be swapped.

“We have put forward to the Israelis our position on different final
status issues, and especially on borders and security,” Abbas told the
Jordanian newspaper. “We have said that the borders need to be on a
1967 basis, with agreement on land swaps equal in value and size, and
we gave our vision regarding security, which was agreed on previously,
in Olmert’s days.”

He said the Israelis need to recognize these propositions as
acceptable, in principle.

“If they agree, we will consider that progress … and this would
prompt us to go to direct negotiations,” he said.

Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev blamed the Palestinians for
the deadlock. “We definitely don’t want another year and a half
without negotiations,” he said.

It was not clear whether Mitchell made any headway in his meeting with
Abbas on Saturday.

Mitchell would only say he was “heartened” by the talks he has held in
the region in recent days and that he would return soon. On Friday, he
met with Netanyahu.

The U.S. envoy has been shuttling between Abbas and Netanyahu in
recent weeks to try to close some of the gaps between the sides.

Abbas, Netanyahu and Mitchell are scheduled to meet separately with
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo on Sunday to sound out the
prospects for a return to direct negotiations.

Abbas aide Yasser Abed Rabbo said a decision on direct talks is not
expected before early next month.

He said the Palestine Liberation Organization’s top decision-making
body and Arab foreign ministers would have to weigh in on the issue,
and that Abbas is also waiting for clarifications from the U.S.

The Palestinian leader will have to make a decision by September at
the latest. The four months set aside for Mitchell’s shuttle diplomacy
and Israel’s partial curb on settlement construction will have come to
an end by then.

Also Saturday, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton called for
Gaza’s borders to be opened beyond Israel’s limited easing of its
3-year-old blockade of the Palestinian territory.

“There needs to be an opening of the crossings to allow the flow of
people and goods in both directions,” she told a news conference in
the West Bank. She was to tour Gaza on Sunday.

Earlier this month, Israel said it would allow the import of most
consumer goods to Gaza, but continues to ban exports and – along with
Egypt – keeps most of Gaza’s 1.5 million people confined to the
Hamas-ruled territory.

Associated Press writers Diaa Hadid and Ian Deitch in Jerusalem and
Karin Laub in Ramallah contributed to this report.

Source: My Way News