Palestinians want a state in all of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, Mahmoud Abbas said.
In his most explicit agenda statement yet, the Palestinian Authority president on Wednesday said Israel should withdraw to its June 1967 borders in exchange for peace.
“It is well known that the Palestinian people should have an independent and viable state existing side by side with the State of Israel, and it is also well known that the Israeli occupation that started in 1967 should come to an end,” Abbas told Palestine Television.
“All we want is a state on the 1967 borders, meaning the size of the West Bank and Gaza Strip,” he said. “We want it as it is.”
The remarks appeared to rule out Israel’s proposal – implicitly backed by President Bush – that the Jewish state keep major West Bank settlement blocs and all of Jerusalem under a future peace accord, compensating the Palestinians with parcels of Israeli border land.
Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will attend a November U.S.-sponsored conference on Palestinian statehood. Jerusalem officials said Israel continues to envisage a territorial tradeoff as the best means of achieving a two-state peace solution.