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Israel-Palestine: Abbas to Mitchell "If Settlement Expansion Continues, I Resign" (Eldar)

Akiva Eldar writes in Haaretz:

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas informed U.S. envoy George Mitchell last week that the renewal of settlement construction will not only bring about the collapse of peace talks but it will also induce his resignation from the post of Palestinian Authority president.

According to Palestinian sources close to the PA leadership, Abbas told Mitchell of his plans during their last meeting together.

Abbas's resignation means the dismantling of the Palestinian Authority, since it was agreed inside the government that no one from the leadership of Fatah will step up to replace Abbas as president, and no new elections will be held.

In a conversation he held last week in his plane with a reporter, Abbas said "this is the last time that you will fly with me while I am president of the PA."

Palestinian sources say that with Abbas's resignation and the collapse of the PA, the Palestinians will demand that the civil authority in the entire West Bank, including zones A and B, be returned to Israel or transferred to the United Nations.

Meanwhile, Haaretz has learned that even though U.S. President Barack Obama is satisfied at this stage with a temporary settlement freeze of 2-3 months, the U.S. government emphasized that it is not ready to relinquish the idea of a total settlement freeze.

Moreover, the Obama administration also made it clear that its principled stance regarding the settlements will not change, and it is not ready to accept the renewal of settlement construction in the West Bank.

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