If Abbas wants a Palestinian Arab state to live side-by-side with Israel in peace, why would he not eagerly want to incorporate the majority of Israeli Arabs in his state? Notwithstanding the fact that most or all of them have no desire to become citizens of "Palestine," it is telling that Abbas specifically excludes the possibility of adding an already developed region that has a population of Palestinian Arabs that would strengthen his state.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] Would it have been possible to reach an agreement with Olmert alone?
[President Abbas] I believe it would have been possible that I go up a little, and he comes down a little. It was possible to find a solution. He said that he would give me 100 percent.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] This is important and fundamental?
[President Abbas] He said 100 percent. He would take from this side, and I would take from that side. He presented maps to me. The maps included that he would take the settlements blocs (in the West Bank) in exchange for territories in the north, west, and south of the West Bank, in addition to territories to the east of Gaza.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] To the north and west of the West Bank?
[President Abbas] Yes.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] In which region in the west?
[President Abbas] In a distant region (from the triangle region), because I explained from the beginning that I would not accept anyone (from the Palestinians of Israel). We were doing well. God is my witness, he was all right; he said to me: You will not find anyone other than me; and I said to him: But you will find someone other than me.
(The triangle region is at the border strip of the West Bank; it is a region that is populated by a majority of Palestinians within the green line.)
This indicates, yet again, that Abbas is thinking long-term that Israel would also become another Arab state demographically, or at the very least he wants to keep a destabilizing force of Arabs in Israel who would follow the orders of the PalArab leadership . He'll take strategic land from within the 1949 armistice borders and keep a potential fifth column of Arabs in Israel.
If what he is saying is true, Olmert is an even bigger idiot than I thought.
One other salient point from the interview that shows yet again that elections do not a democracy make:
The real power is still the PLO, not the PA, and the PLO members are not elected in any real sense - Abbas even admits that he appointed Erekat to be his successor and "made" Fatah elect him.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] Some people consider that the Salam Fayyad Government is exceeding its authority by announcing its project or program that includes declaring the Palestinian State within two years, i.e. by the middle of 2011. This is a program that is supposed to be the responsibility of the PLO, which is the political reference point of the Palestinian Authority and its government. Was this announcement made, as it is said, in coordination with you? What is the aim of this announcement at a time when you are trying to reach the UN Security Council in order to determine the borders of the Palestinian State?
[President Abbas] The government is the executive authority that works to build the institutions under our guidance in order that we become prepared for statehood. My executive authority is the government; it is the government that builds and brings in the money. This is the government program.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] But its project has a political aspect, and it talks about the establishment of the state within two years or a year and a half?
(Al-Ahmad [of the Fatah Centra Committee]: There is no political aspect for the government work).
[President Abbas] The government work has no political aspect. Politics and the negotiations, which are part of the political issue, are one of my responsibilities, together with the Negotiations Department and the PLO. From the day we started signing (agreements), I am the one who signed most of them in the name of the PLO.
(Al-Ahmad: Abu-Mazin is the one who brought Saeb to the Negotiations Department, and made us elect him to the PLO Executive Committee).
I am the one who brought Saeb to the Negotiations Department to replace me.
Finally, Abbas again tries to play both sides in the "armed struggle" game. He tells Asharq Al Awsat:
As I said (in the opening address to the PLO Central Council) I am against aggression, violence, and terrorism...Yet his Fatah platform explicitly says:
The right of resistance: stick to the Fatah movement against the Palestinian people to resist occupation by all legitimate means, including the exercise of their right to armed struggle, which is guaranteed by international law, as long as the occupation and settlement, and dispossession of the Palestinian people of their inalienable rights.
Forms of struggle in the current stage: adopting the Fatah movement of all forms of legitimate struggle, with the option of adhering to peace, but not limited to negotiations to achieve it, and it is this struggle between the forms of exercise that can be successful at the current stage of negotiations for the assignment and activated or alternatively that it did not achieve its goals: