Akiva Eldar and his colleague at Haaretz newspaper interviewed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The whole interview was published in Hebrew on Friday, but only in summary form in English on Friday. (The whole interview will be published in English on Sunday).
Eldar reported that in the interview — the publication coincides with the 15th Anniversary of the signing of the Oslo accords — “Abbas stressed that he will not agree to an interim arrangement such as a state in temporary borders. Any agreement must address all the components of the conflict, including Jerusalem and the right of return, he said; therefore, ‘nothing is agreed until everything is agreed’ … The outlines of an agreement are well known, he said, and Israel’s internal political disputes are apparently the reason no progress has been made. ‘We presented our ideas and demands regarding the six issues’ [borders, security, refugees, Jerusalem etc.], Abbas stated, ‘but have not received any answer from the Israeli side’ … [T]he West Bank and Gaza must be united, or there will be no Palestinian state. Nonetheless, he insisted that this must be achieved only through diplomatic means. ‘We erred when we made the second intifada into an armed struggle, and I will do everything to prevent a third armed intifada’, he said …
“Regarding the refugees, the Palestinian president said: ‘We understand that if all five million refugees return to their homes, the State of Israel will be destroyed’. Nonetheless, he added, Israel must discuss both its responsibility for the refugee problem and a practical right of return. ‘Palestinians who do not return to Israel will be able to return to Palestine’, he continued. He also said a solution to the refugee problem would be based on the Arab peace initiative of 2002, which stated that the solution must be based on United Nations Resolution 194, but acceptable to Israel. Abbas pointed out that every Muslim nation in the region, including Iran (prior to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s election as president), adopted the Arab initiative. ‘I presented the document with the Iranian signature to Olmert, but he did not respond’, Abbas said. ‘Regrettably, to this day no debate has been held by the Israeli cabinet’…”
The English-language summary of the Haaretz interview with Mahmoud Abbas can be read here.