Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during his speech in his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi – May 2017 / President of Russia – File Photo
NEW YORK, Feb 11 (MENA) - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas slammed a Middle East peace plan unveiled by US President Donald Trump late last month, saying that it “transforms our homeland into fragmented residential encampments” and described the territories it envisions for a future state of Palestine as “Swiss cheese.”
“This deal carries within it dictates, reinforcement of the occupation, annexation by military force and anchoring of an apartheid system,” Abbas told a news conference he held jointly with former Israeli premier Ehud Olmert on the sidelines of a UN Security Council meeting in New York.
Abbas also said Tuesday he was prepared to launch negotiations with Israel under the patronage of the Quartet, made-up of the US, Russia, the UN and the European Union, and on the basis of international resolutions, if Israel showed it was a partner for peace.
“I am serious about what I say. I am prepared to stay here in the headquarters of international legitimacy to begin these negotiations immediately,” he said.
Abbas also said the Palestinians would not “resort to violence and terrorism regardless of the act of aggression against us.”
“We believe in peace and fighting violence,” he said. “We will fight by way of popular, peaceful resistance.”
Abbas “is a man of peace. He is opposed to terror. And therefore he is the only partner that we can deal with,” Olmert, who was seated beside the Palestinian leader, told reporters.
“I think that there is a partner,” Olmert reiterated as quoted by The Times of Israel, calling Abbas “the only partner in the Palestinian community that represents the Palestinian people, and that has manifested that he is prepared to negotiate.”
The former Israeli premier insisted that in the end, peace could only come from direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
Trump’s plan “is aimed at eventually making peace between Israel and the Palestinians. So we have to negotiate with the Palestinians. Who will we negotiate with?” Olmert asked.