JERUSALEM (JTA) — Mahmoud Abbas said the Palestinians cannot renew peace talks with Israel because the two sides have "no common ground."
Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, said he does not reject the principle of talks, but that he cannot sit down with the Israelis until there is "a clear path," he told the London-based Arabic newspaper Al-Hayyat in an interview published Thursday.
"We don’t want to come out with a crisis with the Americans, or create a crisis. But in the meantime, we can’t go on unless there is a clear path. The road must be defined so we can know where we are going," Abbas reportedly said.
He called on Israel to freeze all construction in West Bank settlements and said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s offer to freeze any new authorization for settlement construction for six months is not enough.
"We can’t accept the status quo because a partial halt means a continuation of settlements," Abbas said. "Even if it is halted by 95 percent, it is still a continuation of settlement activities."