Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas said on Wednesday that security cooperation with Israel is “sacred” and will continue despite the political differences.
While speaking in Ramallah to about 200 Israeli activists, including academics and economists, Al-Arabi Al-Jadid news website quoted Abbas as saying: “The PA wants to return to negotiations, but based on conditions that have to be accepted by the Israeli government.”
These conditions, according to Abbas, are: the release of the fourth batch of veteran Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails; nine months negotiations with priority given to security and border issues; and discussing other issues, such as water, Jerusalem and the settlements.
Abbas insisted that he understands Israel’s security needs. “Security cooperation is sacred and it will continue despite the political differences,” he said.
Regarding the recent Palestinian developments, he stressed: “We will continue with the internal reconciliation, with our hand also extended to negotiations.” He called for everyone to follow the peaceful pathway of resistance.
“There is no other way to be taken,” he noted, “we do not have any pathway rather than peaceful negotiations that lead to peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis.”
He explained further: “We are not hostile to Jews or Judaism. The one who thinks thus is an infidel according to our beliefs.”
Regarding the settlements, he pointed out that there are 12 international resolutions considering them illegal and called for a settlement freeze for three months until an agreement is reached between the PA and Israel.
Regarding the Israeli rejection of the rapprochement with Hamas, he said: “Reconciliation was done through the formation of an independent government, which will continue until the elections are held.” He expressed his hope that Israel will continue the talks “because stopping is a mistake”.
Abbas pointed out that although Israel boycotted the PA after the reconciliation was announced, it has nevertheless continued with the security cooperation.