Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas laid out his vision on Monday for the final status of Israeli-Palestinian relations ahead of peace talks due to resume in Washington for the first time in nearly three years.
Abbas said that no Israeli settlers or border forces could remain in a future Palestinian state and that Palestinians deem illegal all Jewish settlement building within the land occupied in the 1967 Six Days War.
The forceful statements appeared to challenge mediator US Secretary of State John Kerry's hopes that the terms of the talks, scheduled to begin Monday night over dinner, be kept secret.
"In a final resolution, we would not see the presence of a single Israeli - civilian or soldier - on our lands," Abbas said in a briefing to mostly Egyptian journalists.
Israel has previously said it wants to maintain a military presence in the West Bank at the border with Jordan to prevent any influx of weapons that could be used against it.
But Abbas said he stood by understandings he said he reached with former prime minister Ehud Olmert, predecessor to more right-wing leader Binyamin Netanyahu, that NATO forces could deploy there "as a security guarantee to us and them."
On the future of Jewish settlements on the West Bank and the status of Jerusalem - among the most contentious issues facing the two sides - Abbas signaled no softening of his stance.
"We've already made all the necessary concessions," he said.
"East Jerusalem is the capital of the state of Palestine ... if there were and must be some kind of small exchange (of land) equal in size and value, we are ready to discuss this - no more, no less," he said.
Abbas said on Monday that he refused to endorse any half-measure whereby he would let Israel freeze construction in smaller, more far-flung settlements but allow it to build in the larger and more populous "blocs" closer to the 1967 lines.
"There was a request, 'We'll only build here, what do you think?' If I agreed, I would legitimize all the rest (of the settlements). I said no. I said out loud and in writing that, to us, settlements in their entirety are illegitimate."
Asked if the Americans may try to get Israel to agree to a de facto settlement freeze, the president made a broad smile and declined to answer: "I don't know."
Palestinian sources say officials remain uncomfortable with the lack of a firm Israeli commitment, publicly or behind closed doors, to meet their remaining expectations.
They say that in talks in the coming days, the Americans hope to satisfy Palestinian objections by issuing a statement declaring the 1967 lines the basis for negotiations, and the United States will attempt to compel the Israelis to endorse their note.
The bolded quote above regarding the peace-keeping forces is an interesting footnote in this article, especially when you consider the potential nuances of the covenant confirmation of Daniel 9:27.
I cannot STRESS this enough....
stocks are entering a very dangerous time area.....
AUG SEP OCT 2013.....
the odds of a CRASH between now and
the end of OCT are VERY HIGH...
if bulls can make it thru with
NO CRASH, then it could be a LONG
time till the next chance.
AUG to OCT 2014....
but I think not....
too much risk already.
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