Abbas: Extending Negotiations Requires defining borders of Palestinian state within three months

RAMALLAH, April 29, 2014 (WAFA) – President Mahmoud Abbas said, during a conference in Ramallah on Tuesday, that extending negotiations with Israel requires defining the borders of a future Palestinian state within three months, the release of Palestinian prisoners, and complete halt of settlement activities.

“If we want to extend negotiations, [Israel] must release the prisoners and then we go to the negotiation table on a clear basis, which is the halt of settlement construction.”

Abbas’ statements came as he opened the constituent meeting for the Jerusalem Fund, where he announced the allocation of $1 million, to be deducted from the presidential budget, in favor of the fund.

He stressed that Jerusalem is the ‘crown jewel’ of the Palestinian people and will remain their capital, saying Israel seeks to cleanse the city of its original residents by replacing them with others.

“So far, Israel has not recognized that East Jerusalem is an occupied territory, although the resolution we gained in November 29, 2011 undoubtedly confirms that East Jerusalem is the capital of the State of Palestine, and that the land of the State of Palestine is within the 1967 borders,” said Abbas.

He pointed out that Jerusalem is not only a Palestinian city, but is rather an Arab, Muslim, Christian and an international city “we seek an open city for all religions.”

Commenting on intra-Palestinian reconciliation, Abbas expressed hopes to restore national unity. He added that the next few days will see the formation of a government of technocrats as well as setting a date for general elections, which he considered as the linchpin for restoring national unity.

‘We are determined to know [Israel]’s borders and ours,’ said Abbas.