Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas threatened that he will give Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responsibility of the Palestinians if diplomatic stalemate and illegal Jewish settlement expansion continue, a newspaper reported Thursday.
The lack of progress in peace talks will compel Abbas to “give the keys” to Netanyahu and to effectively dump responsibility for the Palestinians on the Israeli leader, the Palestinian leader said in an interview with Haaretz newspaper.
“If there is no progress even after the [Israeli] election I will take the phone and call [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu,” Abbas said. “I’ll tell him, ‘my dear friend, Mr. Netanyahu, I am inviting you to the Muqata [the PA presidential headquarters in Ramallah]. Sit in the chair here instead of me, take the keys, and you will be responsible for the Palestinian Authority.”
“Once the new government in Israel is in place, Netanyahu will have to decide -- yes or no,” Abbas said.
Abbas reached a new height in his political career when his bid to make Palestine a non-member state after a 138-9 vote in the United Nations succeeded in November.
Palestine winning U.N. recognition was a triumph for Abbas who in 2011 tried and failed to win the Palestinians full state membership at the United Nations. The veto-wielding United States fervently opposed it, saying it will complicate the peace process.
After the non-member state recognition, Palestinians can have access to a range of international institutions including the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Israel not accepting to freeze settlement expansion in Palestinian territories had led to the dismantling of the direct peace talks for more than two years. This has pushed the Palestinians to see other ways to have their state recognized including their successful bid to upgrade their status from an observer entity to that of a non-member state in the United Nations.
Israel revealed plans in December to build 3,000 settler homes in east Jerusalem and the West Bank and in response to the Palestinians achieving their U.N. recognition.