Jan 24, 2008

Abbas to MKs: Jerusalem is on the Table

The Jerusalem Post

Jerusalem is on the table in talks between Israel and the Palestinians but it has not yet been negotiated, both Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and chief PA negotiator Ahmed Qurei (Abu Ala) said Thursday.

The two were speaking in Ramallah to a delegation of four Kadima MKs, Amira Dotan, Ronit Tirosh, Michael Nudelman and Deputy Foreign Minister Majallie Whbee.

Abbas also referred to the current crisis on the Gaza-Egypt border and the Israeli blockade. He said the blockade was the main problem hindering the peace process. "I can't foresee how it might end, and how it will affect the peace process. Closing the crossing to Gaza was a mistake. Starving people and denying them electricity is wrong," added the PA president.

During the meeting, Abbas was officially invited to appear at the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee by Dotan.

Coalition Chairman Eli Aflalo was also going to attend the Ramallah meeting but ended up leaving the delegation on the way after refusing to sign a consent form saying that the IDF was not responsible for protecting him.

"As a member of Knesset I have the right to enter without signing any forms," Aflalo said. "I am not a target for sniper fire."

Shas chairman Eli Yishai has said that his party would leave the coalition as soon as Jerusalem is raised in talks. "If there will be negotiations on Jerusalem, we will leave the coalition," he told The Jerusalem Post.