Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen): No Peace Agreement without Jerusalem

July 29, 2003

In a special interview with Palestine TV, Mahmoud Abbas, (Abu Mazen), Secretary General of the PLO Executive Committee, spoke about the pressures President Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian delegation came under during the Camp David Summit.

Following are excerpts from the July 29 Palestine TV interview:

"No human being could withstand the pressure that President Arafat came under during seventeen days at Camp David. There was pressure from the strongest nation in the world, America, and pressure from all sides to accept certain proposals and ideas. But in spite of the pressure, we, the humble side, said no when we saw that that pressure will lead to concessions on some issues."

"The Palestinian negotiators are not willing to sign an agreement that does not include Jerusalem or one which does not preserve our rights in the city as they were in June 1967. Israel's proposal on Jerusalem, if we had accepted, would have cut the city in many forms and placed on it many different legal characterizations, some thing we rejected."

"The Palestinian delegation refused to set a certain number for refugees that would be allowed to return, even if they offered three million refugees. We told them (Israelis) that we want them to recognize the principle (the right of return) after that we would agree on a time table for the return or compensation of those who did not wish to return."

"I consider the Camp David Summit a success in that it brought about an understanding of the all the final status issues among the three sides. The Summit gave the Palestinian delegation a chance to explain the issues and their far-reaching effects in detail to the Israeli delegation and the American team. For the first time, all the issues were out on the table, nothing remained hidden."

"The Israeli side did not accept the Palestinian positions which were based on international decisions. Israel is not willing to accept the Palestinian position, because Israel's proposals during the Summit were far from international decisions. What Israel proposed during the Summit did not meet ten percent of what is spelled out in international decisions and resolutions."

"If Israel believes that reaching an agreement calls for taking painful decisions, then she must take those decisions and accept the implementation of U.N. Resolution 242 because the alternative would be an acceptance of U.N. Resolution 181."

"If he wants to reach an agreement with the Palestinians, Barak (Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak) should not listen to the right-wing in Israel. He should check the pulse of the Israeli people, they want peace and have indicated this in many polls."

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