Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas. (AP/Amr Nabil/Illustrative) (AP/Amr Nabil/Illustrative)
Mahmoud Abbas

The Palestinian leader said Saturday that if an upcoming Paris conference succeeds in relaunching the long-stalled Palestinian-Israeli negotiations, it should also set a time cap and mechanisms to implement their resolutions.

Palestinian Authority (PA) head Mahmoud Abbas has again rejected the idea of recognizing Israel as a Jewish state. The Palestinians recognized Israel in 1993, he said, and therefore, in his opinion, should be sufficient.

Speaking to Arab foreign ministers in Cairo, Abbas also said that the Paris gathering — due to take place on June 3 — should also set up a monitoring committee to follow whatever is agreed upon. US Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to attend the meeting.

The Palestinians have welcomed the conference, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected the idea of an international conference, saying direct negotiations without preconditions are the only way to reach a final settlement with the Palestinians.

Neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians have been invited to the conference.

In Cairo, Abbas reiterated Palestinian demands that a future Palestinian state include east Jerusalem as its capital with the borders based on the 1949 armistice lines.

“When we need to demarcate these borders, we will be prepared to accept a slight exchange of territory,” he told the Arab ministers.

He also demanded that all Palestinian terrorists jailed by Israel be released.

He rejected proposals made by Israel that under any future deal Israel would maintain a military presence in Judea and Samaria or on the border with Jordan. The Palestinians, he said, would instead accept NATO forces to monitor security in the area.

Abbas made his contentious statements while two of the cornerstone Israeli demands for any resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are recognition of Israel as the Jewish homeland, and acceptance of a demilitarized Palestinian state with the IDF maintaining a military presence in the Judea and Samaria and Jordan Valley areas.

Israel fears that without the IDF’s presence in Judea and Samaria, the area would rapidly become controlled by the Hamas terror organization, as was the case with Hamas’ violent takeover of the Gaza Strip from Abbas’ forces in 2007. Since then, Gaza has become a terror state, which threatens Israel’s very existence.

By: AP and United with Israel Staff

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