Abbas: East Jerusalem is Our Capital and We Will Not Negotiate for It

PNN – Palestine News Network -19.01.11 – 11:09

Jericho – PNN – After what he called a “historic” meeting with his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told a group of Jericho army cadets, “Jerusalem is our capital and we will not negotiate for it.”

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Abbas addresses a group of military cadets in Jericho (Wafa Images).

“Today President Medvedev announced in a press conference that he was for an independent Palestinian state with its capital in Jerusalem,” said Abbas. “Many people talk about the 1967 borders but hesitate to mention Jerusalem, saying it’s a subject of negotiation. How can it be up for negotiation? We will not negotiate for Jerusalem, because Jerusalem is ours.”

President Abbas frequently refers to occupied East Jerusalem as Jerusalem in speeches, but has professed his support for establishing a Palestinian capital in the eastern part of the city only. The issue of Jerusalem, along with settlements and refugees, is one of the three main conflicts in the Israeli-Palestinian negotiating impasse. Israel says Jerusalem as its “eternal capital,” a claim that no other nation or international law supports.

“May be there are issues subject to negotiation,” said Abbas, “such as amendments or exchanges to the borders or other issues, but Jerusalem is not up for negotiation. That is what we say when we are asked about Jerusalem: we say East Jerusalem is occupied land from which [Israel] needs to disengage. It is our capital. We will not accept a withdrawal from Jerusalem if they say Ramallah or Jericho is our capital.”

Abbas said Medvedev’s visit was an “important celebration” and thanked him for coming to Palestine “despite obstacles in his path.” He said Russia had been an “old friend” to Palestine for 130 years.

During Medvedev’s visit, he inaugurated a Russian-funded museum in Jericho and signed agreements designed to foster cooperation between Palestinian and Russian sports, agriculture, and media organizations. Russia is a member of the Quartet negotiating team and holds a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, where Palestinian negotiators are expected to bring up a resolution condemning illegal Israeli settlements on Wednesday.

The meeting was also attended by Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Secretary-General Tayeb Abdul Raheem, presidential spokesman Nabeel Abu Rudeineh, Security Academy President Major General Tawfiq al-Tayrawi, and a number of officials from the security apparatus, civil society, and the Fatah party.

 

PNN – Palestine News Network – Abbas: East Jerusalem is Our Capital and We Will Not Negotiate for It.

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