RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday told his party's young members that the Palestinian Authority never abandoned the national agenda.
“The Palestinian leadership still adheres to the national agenda approved by the Palestinian National Council in 1988, it never gave up on any of the inalienable principles as some claim," he said, referring to accusations that flew following the release of a series of leaked transcripts, maps and correspondence that showed PLO officials negotiating points far from the Palestinian consensus.
The right of return for Palestinian refugees and the position of Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state were both points that the documents showed PLO officials were more flexible on than the national position put forward.
Meeting with Fatah Youth in his Ramallah office, the president said negotiations with Israel were suspended because of the PA's firm stance on the issue of settlements. The PLO pulled out of peace talks with Israel over its refusal to stop building settlements on occupied Palestinian land.
Abbas addressed the leaked documents published by the Qatar-based satellite channel Al-Jazeera and dubbed the Palestine Papers.
Abbas said the publication of the papers undermined the Palestinian position at a time when the PA was making diplomatic gains internationally, as a wave of countries recognized a Palestinian state.
He once again expressed his suspicion over Al-Jazeera's agenda in releasing the papers.
Speaking on behalf of Fatah Youth, Mu'tazz Muzhir expressed support and solidarity with Abbas, describing him as "[Late President] Yasser Arafat's successor who inherited his merits."
He applauded Abbas for his candidness, adding that Abbas has always "been used to openly and frankly telling his people about all challenges facing the Palestinian cause."