Abbas: Speech left ‘nothing to build on’


Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said there was nothing for peace talks to build on in Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to the U.S. Congress.

Abbas, speaking to the Palestine Liberation Organization and also with reporters on Wednesday in Ramallah, asserted that if no progress is made in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians that he will go to the United Nations General Assembly in September seeking recognition of a unilaterally declared Palestinian state.

Abbas said the Israeli prime minister’s speech “travelled far from peace,” and that it dictated final outcomes publicly instead of through negotiations.

“Our first choice is negotiations, but if there is no progress before September we will go to the United Nations,” Abbas said, according to AFP.

Hamas response to Obama speech: Still won’t recognize Israel


Hamas condemned President Obama’s AIPAC speech, saying it will not recognize Israel despite the United States president’s demand.

The Obama administration is “not a friend to the people of the region,” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told the Ma’an Palestinian news service.

Abu Zuhri said Obama’s continued support of Israel showed that the U.S. is biased, and will “support the occupation at the expense of the freedom of the Palestinian people.”

“The US administration will fail, just as all others have in the past, in forcing Hamas to recognize the occupation,” Abu Zuhri said.

In his response to Obama’s speech, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told journalists in Jordan, where he is currently on a diplomatic visit, that “Hamas is part of Palestinian society, and will take part in the democratic game as opposition.”

He said the new Palestinian unity government, whose composition still has not been announced, will conduct future peace negotiations with Israel.

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