Israel will “bear full responsibility” for the Palestinian Authority - and all Palestinians living in the West Bank - if the Middle East peace talks finally fail next week, according to Mahmoud Abbas.
Speaking to Israeli journalists a week before the peace talks meet their deadline on April 29, the Palestinian president threatened to dissolve the authority altogether if the talks collapse.
“[Israel] will bear responsibility for security, meaning Israel will bear full responsibility”, he said. “We hope that we won’t come to this, but that we come to solutions.”
Mr Abbas also laid out his terms for extending the US-sponsored talks, which have been on the verge of collapse since Israel failed to release its final group of Palestinian prisoners last month.
He said he would agree to prolong negotiations if Israel spent the first three months discussing final borders and, in the meantime, stopped building settlements on the West Bank.
Mr Abbas said: “If Israel believes in the two-state solution, let us define the borders – where Israel will be and where Palestine will be.”
But following Mr Abbas’ claims he would dissolve the authority, Jewish Home party leader and Economics Minister Naftali Bennett said it was an often-heard threat by the Palestinian president.
Mr Bennett said: “We hear again and again the recycling of the same threat, that if we don’t advance and if we don’t give him everything that he wants he will – o y vey for us – dissolve the PA.
“I suggest to Abu Mazen: If you’re going to shoot, then shoot, don’ t talk. The state of Israel is stronger than Abu Mazen’s threats.”