Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Friday that Palestine was now “a country under occupation,” but indicated that he wasn’t ready to turn to the International Criminal Court just yet.
Speaking to Palestinian journalists in New York ahead of a visit to Jordan, Abbas reacted to Israel’s announcement that it would build 3,000 housing units in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
He told Ramallah-based media outlet Al-Ayyam that Palestinian rights to the land on pre-1967 borders was proven at the UN General Assembly on Thursday, and that nobody can build on that land at will.
Abbas claimed that in exchange for Israel’s evacuation from the “occupied territories,” the establishment of a Palestinian state with its capital in Jerusalem and a solution to the refugee issue, “We will grant Israel recognition by 57 Arab and Muslim states, thereby solving its isolation problem.”
The PA president told reporters that he was willing to restart negotiations with Israel right away, but only on the basis of UN resolutions that brand Israel’s West Bank settlements illegal.
“The ball is now in the court of Israel and the US,” he said, adding that a show of force by Israel would not produce the country’s desired results.
Abbas said Friday that he was surprised by the margin with which the Palestinian resolution at the UN was passed. He is expected to return on Sunday to Ramallah, where he will be greeted with an official ceremony.