Palestinians Weigh ‘Harsh Measures’ for Israel: Abbas [View all]
By Jonathan Ferziger - Jan 3, 2012 12:23 PM ET
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said he may take “harsh measures” if talks with Israel that started today in Jordan do not lead to a halt in West Bank settlement construction by Jan. 26.
The comment to reporters in Ramallah came hours before chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat and his Israeli counterpart, Yitzhak Molcho, went to the Jordanian Foreign Ministry in Amman for their first meeting in more than a year. The international group known as the Quartet has asked both Israel and the Palestinians to present proposals on setting final borders between them by that date.
“We will discuss and study and decide what to do after the 26th,” Abbas told reporters at a ceremony to open a legal studies center in Ramallah. “So far I cannot reveal what the measures are because they are not ready yet, but we will take measures that might be harsh,” he said.
Abbas has said he won’t return to peace talks, which broke down in September 2010, unless Israel freezes all settlement construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, a condition Netanyahu rejects. The Amman meeting has been presented by both sides as a preliminary step to resuming formal talks, not a new round in itself.