Abbas: 'Second intifada was a mistake'

By Jessica Elgot, May 26, 2010
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President Abbas has said peace negotiations could be completed in a week if Israel co-operates.

President Abbas has said peace negotiations could be completed in a week if Israel co-operates.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has said that peace in the Middle East could be achieved in just one week if Israelis were willing to negotiate. But in a surprise move, he expressed regret over the second intifada.

Speaking to Egyptian media, Mr Abbas said that both he and former Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat did not want the intifada in October 2000.

He said: “The second intifada was one of our worst mistakes. Arafat didn't want the intifada to erupt, but he couldn't stop it.”

During the past week Mr Abbas has made encouraging sounds about the proximity talks.

He said: “Peace can be achieved in no more than one week, but only if Israel is willing. They must understand that peace is in their interest.”

He went on to criticise Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his government for not being serious about peace.

He has also indicated that a land swap between Israel and Palestine is under discussion but no percentages have been agreed.

Mr Netanyahu categorically denied that any land swap negotiations were taking place during the proximity talks, which are being mediated by US Special Envoy George Mitchell.

He also confirmed that no Palestinian proposal on the potential borders of a future Palestinian state had been received.

    Last updated: 1:16pm, May 26 2010