Washington DC, June 6 – Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas may not want a peace agreement with Israel – that is the view of United States President Barack Obama, according to media reports today.
Obama made the comment on June 5 during a meeting with Jewish leaders in the White House.
The president told his guests the window for peace may be closing but he was still hopeful a deal could be cut. However, he said the Palestinians had stepped away from the peace process.
At every opportunity, Israel calls on the Palestinians to enter direct talks, in line with the proposals of the Quartet – the United States, Russia, the United Nations and the European Union.
In the latest signal of Palestinian intent, Abbas is hoping to create a power-sharing deal with Hamas, which is committed to Israel’s destruction.
Abbas’ Fatah party and Hamas were slated to meet this week to discuss reconciliation and the appointment of a mutually-agreeable prime minister, instead of the pro-Western incumbent Salam Fayyad.
Given the Palestinian stance on the peace process, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said last week if there is no agreement in the near future, Israel will have to look at alternatives such as an interim arrangement or a unilateral move to protect Israeli interests.