CAIRO: The Palestinian president 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.
Speaking to Arab foreign ministers in Cairo, Mahmoud Abbas also said that the Paris gathering — due June 3 — should also set up a monitoring committee to follow whatever is agreed upon. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to attend the meeting.
The Palestinians have welcomed the conference but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected the idea of an international conference, saying direct negotiations without preconditions are the best way to reach a final settlement with the Palestinians.
In Cairo, Abbas reiterated Palestinian demands that a future Palestinian state have east Jerusalem as its capital and that it be established within the borders that had existed on the eve of the 1967 Middle East when Israel captured the then Jordanian-administered West Bank and east Jerusalem.
“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 Palestinians jailed by Israel be released and also said the Palestinians would never recognize a “Jewish” state as Netanyahu once demanded. The Palestinians recognized Israel in 1993, he recounted, and is sufficient.
He rejected proposals made by Israel that under any future deal Israel would maintain a military presence in the West Bank or on the border with Jordan. The Palestinians, he said, would instead accept NATO forces to monitor security in the area.