JERUSALEM (JTA) — Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has threatened to resign if peace talks with Israel fail.
Abbas made a statement indicating that he would quit over a failure of the recently launched direct peace negotiations at a recent meeting of the Fatah Central Committee, The Jerusalem Post reported Sunday.
“I have made a decision and I will announce it at the appropriate time,” Abbas said, according to the Post, which cited a senior PA official quoted in the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi daily.
The members of the committee understood Abbas’ declaration as a new threat to resign.
There is no obvious successor to Abbas. If Abbas did resign, the party’s central committee would meet and appoint one of its members to the position, according to the Post.
Meanwhile, the Palestinians continue to assert that they will halt negotiations if Israel does not extend the freeze on construction in West Bank settlements.
“If they extend the settlement freeze, the negotiations will continue,” he said. “If not, the talks will be stopped,” Nabil Shaath, a member of the PA delegation to the peace talks, said over the weekend, the Post reported.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday during a meeting of his party’s Cabinet members that Israel would not extend the 10-month freeze, which is scheduled to expire Sept. 26.
Meanwhile, Israeli President Shimon Peres left for New York on Saturday night to represent Israel at the opening meeting of the United Nations General Assembly. He is scheduled to meet there with Abbas in an effort to convince him to continue with the peace negotiations after the settlement construction freeze ends, Haaretz reported.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman had been expected to represent Israel at this week’s session.