Abbas Asks for Return of All Occupied Land

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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas yesterday laid out his most specific demands for the borders of a future independent state, calling for a full Israeli withdrawal from all territories captured in the 1967 war.Abbas’ claim comes as Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams are trying to hammer out a joint vision for a future peace deal in time for a US-hosted conference next month. In a new confidence-building gesture to Abbas, Israel agreed yesterday to grant residency permits to thousands of Palestinians who have been living illegally in the West Bank on expired visitors’ visas….

“The Palestinian people must have a continuous and viable state within 1967 borders. The area of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip stands at 6,205 square kilometers (2,396 square miles) and we want these 6,205 square kilometers,” he said. He said he would accept “border modifications here and there” but rejected any exchange of territory under any final peace deal. “This meeting (next month) must touch on the main questions, including borders, refugees, water, Jerusalem, settlements and security,” he said.

Israel wants to keep its major settlement blocks in the occupied West Bank, in exchange for giving the Palestinians equivalent amounts of land elsewhere. “We have rejected in the past and we reject now a state with temporary borders. It will lead to an impasse that will last many, many years,” Abbas said.


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