Mahmoud Abbas rejected the possibility of a partial peace deal with Israel.
“It is necessary for the agreement to address all… issues,” Abbas, the Palestinian Authority president, said at a business forum in Italy, according to The Associated Press. “It is all or nothing.”
Abbas reiterated his pledge to try to reach a comprehensive, final-status peace deal with Israel by year’s end, but he acknowledged that it might not be possible.
Hamas’ rule over Gaza and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s impending resignation has dimmed the likelihood of achieving the goal set by Israeli and Palestinian Authority leaders last November in Annapolis, Md., of reaching a peace deal by the end of 2008.
The two sides remain divided over the exact contours of a future Palestinian state, the status of Jerusalem and the so-called right of return of Palestinian refugees to Israel.
In a swipe at the Bush administration’s belated involvement in Middle East peacemaking, Abbas said that if an Israeli-Palestinian agreement cannot be reached by the end of President Bush’s term, “The new administration should not wait seven years for us to start negotiations.” He said, “It should begin immediately as soon as a new president is in the White House.”