Abbas urges PLO to reject violence

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas rejected a return to violence in an address to the PLO.

"What is required of us … a return to violence? I won’t accept it," he reportedly said Tuesday at a meeting of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Central Council in Ramallah.

Abbas also said that Israel must halt all settlement building and recognize a Palestinian state in pre-1967 borders to resume peace talks.

"When Israel stops settlement activity for a specific period and when it recognizes the borders we are calling for, and these are the legal borders, there would be nothing to prevent us from going to negotiations to complete what we agreed to at Annapolis," Abbas said, according to Reuters.

The Annapolis conference in 2007 restarted Israel-Palestinian peace talks and called for the first time for a two-state solution, following the guidelines of the 2002 "road map" for peace that called for a settlement freeze and an end to Palestinian violence.

The PLO council was holding a two-day meeting to discuss extending Abbas’ presidential term, which expires Jan. 25.  Palestinian elections scheduled for next month were canceled when Hamas refused to allow the vote to go forward in Gaza.  

Abbas, 74, has said he will not run for re-election.
 

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