by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has rejected talks with Israel at this time, according to the Hebrew-language Maariv newspaper, apparently waiting for the outcome of next week’s meeting between U.S. President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Last week, the Prime Minister offered to return to the negotiating table immediately and without any pre-conditions.
The Arab world is expecting the U.S. to pressure Israel into specifically accepting the “two-state solution” and halting all construction in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. The discussions in Washington are being billed as crucial to the future of the Middle East.
Prime Minister Netanyahu has maintained the PA must become more stable economically and politically before a new Arab state can be created alongside the Jewish State, a concept that PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has rejected.
Israel fears that the objective of the Arab world is to allow the return of several million Arabs who claim to be descendants of former residents in the country. The result would be the domination of Arabs in Israel.
Abbas has conducted a determined single-minded four-year campaign to win international backing for a new PA state based on the Saudi Arabian 2002 Peace Plan that calls for Arab immigration and a new Arab country to be established on all of the land of Judea, Gaza and Samaria, including the Old City of Jerusalem.
The PA includes 250,000 Jews in Jerusalem neighborhoods which were restored to Israel in the Six-Day War in 1967. The municipality annexed the neighborhoods, including Gilo, Talpiot, Ramot and French Hill, into the capital more than 20 years ago, but the international community has not accepted the change.