(JNS.org) Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas “did not agree to anything” in 2011, the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office said after Tuesday’s airing of a television interview in which President Shimon Peres said he and Abbas had essentially reached a draft Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement, but that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thwarted the initiative.
Peres told Israel’s Channel 2 News that three years ago, Abbas agreed to recognize Israel as a Jewish state in exchange for the establishment of a Palestinian state. He also said Abbas agreed to the Arab League proposal on the issue of Palestinian refugees, “which called for the issue to be resolved in a just and agreed upon way,” namely, providing compensation to the displaced and allowing some family unification, but in essence forgoing what the Palestinians call “the right of return.”
“We reached an understanding on almost all issues,” Peres said. Yet the Peres-Abbas talks were stopped before a final accord could be reached, according to the Israeli president, who claimed Netanyahu “had the impression that there was a better deal to be brought by Middle East Quartet representative Tony Blair.”
The Prime Minister’s Office responded to the Peres interview by stating, “Abbas did not agree to anything. This time, too, all he wanted was to receive from Israel and give nothing in return. Abbas’s known strategy is to be ambiguous until he is pushed into a corner and then flees.”