Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas left for the United States on Saturday, ahead of his meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday.
Abbas’s spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, said that Abbas plans to speak with Obama on all issues related to the realization of a two-state solution and the establishment of a just and balanced peace that will result in the establishment of an independent Palestinian state whose capital is Jerusalem.
Abu Rudeineh stated that the visit to Washington is taking place during a sensitive time period and under circumstances of change in the Arab world, stressing that PA Chairman intends to stick to the “fundamental Palestinian principles”.
In a speech he gave to the Revolutionary Council of Fatah this past Wednesday, Abbas said that the Palestinian Arabs are steadfast in their positions that eastern Jerusalem will be the capital of Palestine, and that Israelis will remain in the Palestinian state after Israel withdraws to the pre-1967 borders.
On the issue of the “Palestinian refugees”, Abbas said in his speech that every refugee who wishes to return to the State of Israel will be allowed to do so, and declared that all refugees, without exception, will receive compensation.
The remarks are not surprising, as Abbas has consistently said that unless all his preconditions are met, there will be no peace with Israel.
In a recent appearance broadcast by PA TV, Abbas clearly stated: no Jewish communities will remain in the PA, and 5 million “refugees” worldwide, “from Canada to Japan” – including all of the descendants of Arabs who fled Israel in 1948 – will have the right to “return” to Israel.
Meanwhile on Saturday, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon declared in a television interview that Abbas was not a peace partner.
“I supported (the) Oslo (Accords),” Ya’alon said. “Today too I believe human life takes precedent to land, but I found the conflict is on all of Palestine, they don’t recognize our right to exist here. …It’s impossible to reach an agreement with the Palestinians without recognition of the Jewish state.”
Ya’alon accused Abbas of “going back on the Oslo trick, without recognition or promises.”
Abbas “is a partner for receiving, not giving,” charged Yaalon. “He is not a partner for a final agreement that would include the recognition of Israel as the national state of the Jewish people and that would end the conflict and all claims.”