Palestinian leader: No state with temporary border

AP News
Posted: Mar 05, 2011 9:46 AM
Palestinian leader: No state with temporary border

The Palestinian president said Saturday he would not accept an Israeli peace initiative if it called for temporary borders for a future Palestinian state.

President Mahmoud Abbas' comments were the highest official response so far to news of a peace plan that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to publicly propose in the coming weeks.

The negative response highlights the deep mistrust between Palestinian and Israeli officials over each other's intentions. It also demonstrates the difficulties of where to begin in negotiations meant to lead to the creation of a Palestinian state.

Israeli officials have not unveiled details of the plan, but a Netanyahu aide last week described it as taking "a phased approach," which Palestinians interpret as meaning temporary borders.

Palestinians fear accepting anything less than permanent borders would allow Israel to annex remaining lands that they seek for their future state.

"We are aware of an old plan of a state with provisional borders, and if this plan was presented again we will not accept it," Abbas said at a news conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

The last U.S. attempt to mediate peace negotiations stumbled in September when Netanyahu refused to renew a temporary, partial freeze on Jewish settlement construction in the West Bank.

Palestinians seek a state in the Gaza Strip, West Bank and east Jerusalem _ territories Israel seized during the 1967 Mideast war.

In the West Bank on Saturday, Jewish settlers clashed with Palestinians from the village of Iraq Burin, Palestinian residents said. They said settlers surrounded a shepherd and tried to frighten away his sheep. Palestinian residents responded by hurling rocks and chasing them back to the nearby hilltop settlement of Bracha. Members of an Israeli paramilitary unit fired tear gas and warning shots to drive them back to their village.

A military spokeswoman said the Palestinians tried to enter the Jewish settlement.