Abbas Rejects Talks without Settlement Halt

The acting Palestinian Authority chief has ruled out new talks with the Israeli regime without a total halt to settlement expansion efforts on his return from New York to the occupied West Bank.

"We have confirmed to all that we want to achieve our rights through peaceful means, through negotiations — but not just any negotiations," Mahmoud Abbas told a cheering crowd of thousands on his return to Ramallah on Sunday, Reuters reported.

"We will not accept (negotiations) until legitimacy is the foundation and they (Israelis) cease settlement completely," he said, two days after submitting an application for Palestinian statehood to the United Nations and addressing the annual session of its General Assembly in New York.

He rejected a proposal by the Middle East Quartet that calls for unconditional talks with Israel, calling it simply unacceptable.

On Friday, the Quartet (Russia, the EU, the UN, and the US) called for the resumption of stalled talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) within a month so that a final peace agreement can be reached by the end of 2012.

He arrived directly at the Muqataa, the PA chief’s compound, which was packed to capacity for a welcome party in his honour.

Abbas told the Palestinians he had communicated their dreams of statehood to the international community.

"We went to the United Nations carrying your hopes, your dreams, your ambitions, your suffering, your vision and your need for an independent Palestinian state," he stated.

The Palestinian leader proclaimed that he has no doubt that the whole free world received the message we conveyed to them.

Abbas declared that the Palestinian people’s international diplomatic resistance has begun and they have a long road ahead.

"We must know with certainty that there are those who will punish us. There are those who will deny us justice and deny what is right but we will stand up to them," he cautioned.

The rival Palestinian Islamic Hamas movement, however, has expressed reservations about the PA effort at the UN arguing that the entire Palestinian territories occupied by the Israeli regime since 1948 must be returned to Palestinians and reestablished as the state of Palestine.

(Press TV)

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