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PLO official: Abbas will not threaten to dismantle PA

March 14, 2012 9:36 A.M. (Updated: March 16, 2012 12:30 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- PLO Executive Committee member Ghassan al-Shaka told Ma'an late Tuesday President Mahmoud Abbas will not threaten to dismantle the Palestinian Authority in a forthcoming communique to Israel.

Israeli daily Haaretz reported on Monday that Abbas will warn if Israel does not stop settlement building, release Palestinian prisoners, and recognize two states on 1967 borders, the PA will demand international law be applied in the West Bank, implying handing control to Israel.

The PA was set up as a state-in-waiting 17 years ago but is now seen by critics as compromised body that eases the burden of occupation for Israel.

Al-Shaka, who is also a Fatah Central Committee member, called the report in Haaretz "fabrication," and said the president's message to Israel, international leaders, and the Middle East Quartet will instead run through the political progress of negotiations from their very start, to demonstrate that the PLO has kept its commitments, while Israel has broken them.

Muhammad Al-Madani, another member of Fatah Central Committee, also said the report was baseless.

"It is unbelievable that Israel, the side responsible for impeding and foiling the peace process, disseminates information about dismantling the PA," he said.

Al-Shaka said Arab countries were behind Palestine's decision to refuse negotiations with Israel until settlement expansion on Palestinian land is stopped, and insisted Abbas will never return to talks without this Israeli guarantee.

Palestinian and Israeli negotiators met for five rounds of exploratory talks in Jordan during January, but the timeframe set by the international Quartet passed at the end of the month without agreement.

"The ball is now in Israel’s court," al-Shaka said.
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