08/23/2013 12:17 am ET Updated Aug 23, 2013

Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian President, Says Signing Peace Agreement Will End The Conflict With Israel


Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he wants a negotiated peace agreement with Israel to include a clause stating that the conflict is officially over, Haaretz reported.

During a meeting with a delegation from the Israeli left-wing party Meretz in Ramallah on Thursday, Abbas said the Palestinian people want sovereignty and independence as well as peace in the region.

“People say that after signing a peace agreement we will still demand Haifa, Acre and Safed,” Abbas said. “That is not true. Signing the agreement will signal the end of the conflict.”

According to The Jerusalem Post, Abbas remains committed to a two-state solution that would involve the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital.

In 2012, Abbas won U.N. General Assembly recognition of a state of Palestine in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, The Associated Press reported. However, an official in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said the Palestinians had promised to suspend their U.N. campaign during the peace negotiations.

Abbas also said that he wanted the final peace settlement to note that the Palestinian state would be demilitarized -- guarded by a police force rather than occupied by troops.

“We don’t need planes or missiles. All we need is a strong police force,” Abbas said.

Amidst these comments, the Palestinian Authority continued to issue threats of legal action over Israeli settlements. The U.S. had reportedly given Abbas assurances that Israeli settlement building would be reined in during peace negotiations, yet since the start of talks, Israel has issued several announcements about plans to build nearly 3,100 settlement apartments, including hundreds in East Jerusalem, the Palestinians' hoped-for capital.

Israel defended the announcements, saying the construction will occur in areas it expects to keep in any future peace deal.

The PA Foreign Ministry said Israel’s settlement actions constituted a flagrant violation of international law and the Geneva Convention and would directly destroy the peace talks.

“Since the beginning of the negotiations, the Israeli government has stepped up its settlement aggression on occupied Palestinian territories,” the ministry said in a statement.

Earlier this week, Tzipi Livni, Israel's chief negotiator, said her country will make "dramatic decisions" to reach a final peace deal.

Abbas said he hopes the latest round of peace talks "were not a waste of time" and that an agreement could be reached over the next six months.

“You have a commitment from the Palestinian people, and also from the leadership, that if we are offered a just agreement, we will sign a peace deal that will put an end to the conflict and to future demands from the Palestinian side,” Abbas said, according to an account of the meeting posted on the Meretz website.



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