There was a very informative article published last week in Haaretz on comments PA President Abbas gave in a speech to Meretz.
“People say that after signing a peace agreement we will still demand Haifa, Acre and Safed,” he said. “That is not true. Signing the agreement will signal the end of the conflict.”
Abbas further clarified that in any peace settlement the Palestinian state would agree to be demilitarized. He noted that during earlier negotiations with former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert there was an agreement to post American soldiers in the West Bank to help maintain security.
“We don’t need planes or missiles. All we need is a strong police force,” said Abbas. “On the other hand, we want sovereignty and independence. I was criticized for saying that I don’t want a single Israeli soldier or settler in the Palestinian state. I meant any Israeli that is part of the occupation. I didn’t mean that I don’t want Jews or Israelis in the Palestinian state. We’ll welcome them as tourists or as people coming to do business. We just don’t want occupation forces.”
I am optimistic about the future states of Israel and Palestine after this interview and am hopeful Bibi is being honest in his efforts to bring peace to a region much deserving of it.