Abbas rejects temporary state in Israel

April 24, 2010 at 8:53 AM
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RAMALLAH, West Bank, April 24 (UPI) -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has reportedly rejected an Israeli offer to establish a Palestinian state within temporary borders.

The London-based Arabic Language news agency Al-Hayat reported Saturday a source said Abbas viewed Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's proposal an attempt "to set up a trap and drag him into profound negotiations that will set up the state's borders and turn them into permanent ones."

Netanyahu also offered to release 1,000 Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails and remove several roadblocks in the West Bank, Al-Hayat said, Haaretz reported.

Citing sources, Al-Hayat said Abbas could not accept the gestures because Netanyahu would not agree to stop building in East Jerusalem.

Tensions between Israel and the United States flared when the Israeli government announced plans to go ahead with housing construction in East Jerusalem. U.S. President Barack Obama has called on Israel's leaders to freeze the construction, which is viewed as a roadblock to peace talks.

During a meeting with U.S. envoy George Mitchell Friday, Netanyahu refused a U.S. request that Israel stop building in East Jerusalem, Al-Hayat said.

Mitchell is on a three-day trip to the region to discuss ways to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

U.S. State Department Philip Crowley played down expectations for the trip.

"Are we expecting a breakthrough result of this visit? Probably not," Crowley said.

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