Abbas calls on Israel to accept two-state solution


Bethlehem : Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Saturday reiterated calls for Israel to accept a two-state solution, vowing not to resume negotiations with Israel without an explicit Israeli recognition of previously signed agreements.

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Addressing an audience at the opening of an event celebrating Jerusalem’s role in Arab culture, Abbas said justice and peace would not come to the Middle East without “an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital”.

“Jerusalem is the key for peace,” said Abbas.

Abbas said that “any new Israeli government should reaffirm anew its commitment for peace by clearly accepting the two-state solution, the road map peace plan and all commitments reached in previously signed agreements.”

He also stressed that “without (Israel) halting all settlement activities, in Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied territories, there will not be serious and productive negotiations”.

Abbas stressed that the Palestinians want to reach “an effective truce” with Israel that would end bloodshed and hardships.

He called on Israel to stop the destruction of Palestinian homes in Jerusalem and elsewhere in the Palestinian territories, describing this policy as one of “ethnic cleansing”.

Israel refused to allow the Palestinian celebration to take place in Jerusalem, forcing a move to Bethlehem, which is under quasi-Palestinian rule. Bans on similar ceremonies were enforced in East Jerusalem and Nazareth, the largest Arab city inside Israel.

Nonetheless, Palestinian officials say they plan to hold several events throughout the year to commemorate Jerusalem as the capital of Arab culture.

Dozens of Israeli police officers were stationed throughout East Jerusalem Saturday. Several Palestinian officials were arrested during the day and police raided and shut down several halls where there was suspicion that similar events might be held.

Israel claims all of Jerusalem, including the eastern sector, as its undivided capital. Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.