Abbas ‘Offers Border Proposal to Quartet’

President Mahmoud Abbas recently provided representatives of the Middle East Quartet with a new proposal on the borders of a future Palestinian state, Israeli media reported Thursday.

The proposal included the border and security arrangements that Israel would be provided in a peace agreement, according to the report in Israel’s Haaretz newspaper.

In turn, the Quartet has demanded that Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu provide a counter-proposal, something Netanyahu has refused to do, Haaretz reported.

Israel believes any counterproposal should be presented in direct negotiations with the Palestinians, but the PLO called off talks over a year ago amid Israel’s refusal to halt settlement construction.

Abbas met Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni on Wednesday in the Jordanian capital for talks about the peace process, and the president stressed his support for negotiations, state media reported, quoting a statement.

Abbas told Livni that "the option of peace and negotiations was the only way to achieve the two-state solution based on the 1967 borders with the resolution of final status issues including Jerusalem, refugees, borders, settlements and security," the statement said.

The Kadima party said Livni urged Abbas to return to talks.

"Do not let Hamas impose its agenda by forming a joint government," the statement quoted her telling Abbas. "With them you have no chance for peace."

"Now, before forming a government with Hamas, in the face of the changes in the region and instead of unilateral moves at the UN, it is necessary to open negotiations before it is too late and I call on you to do it before it is too late."

"The Middle East is changing and the deadlock serves the extremists who exploit the dispute on the streets of the Arab world. We need to act now in partnership against the extremist Islamic forces."

The statement from Abbas’ office said he assured Livni that the next Palestinian government, to be formed ahead of elections within a year as called for by the unity deal with Hamas, would be a moderate one.

The government will be composed "of technocrats and independents and… will accept previously signed agreements, the principles of two states, be committed to peace and will renounce violence," he told Livni.

Abbas also repeated his insistence that negotiations must be based on the "obligations" of both sides under the Road Map, a 2003 framework for negotiations to reach a peace deal, the statement said.

"The president stressed the obligations of both sides to implement what is required of them under the first phase of the Road Map, including a halt to settlement construction and accepting the 1967 borders as the basis for talks."

(Ma’an News)

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