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Abbas hints at PA dissolution over settlements

Dec. 4, 2010 8:47 A.M. (Updated: Dec. 5, 2010 12:10 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- President Mahmoud Abbas threatened Friday to end autonomy in the Palestinian territories if Israel insists on going ahead with settlement construction on lands that would be a Palestinian state.

Speaking with Palestine TV, Abbas said he would not "afford to remain the president of a nonexistent Palestinian Authority" if the Israeli occupation of the West Bank continued, and along with that settlement construction .

When asked if the comment meant that he could actually disband the Palestinian Authority, the president said, “I am telling the Israelis that they can continue as occupiers, but as for me, I will not accept the status quo.”

The comment came two days after PA officials told AFP that American mediators engaged in bilateral talks with Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams had announced their inability to secure a promise to freeze settlement construction from Israel. Officials later denied the report to Ma'an, but White House spokesman PJ Crowley would not deny the incident during a Thursday news conference.

Abbas himself has been threatening to resign from the Palestinian Authority since before 2009, when his term was extended by a PLO mandate, beyond its four-year elected term.

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