There was little new substance in Abbas’s remarks, and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has said he worries that the Palestinian leader has made the refusal of new negotiations a “strategic choice.”
“There is a real concern now that saying no is a deliberate strategy,” said Netanyahu spokesman Mark Regev. “They have become rejectionists out of a desire to not be forced to make concessions.”
Israelis have said they ready to start negotiations without preconditions.
Abbas, who negotiated with previous Israeli governments even as settlement construction continued, hardened his stance after the Obama administration pushed for a settlement freeze but was rebuffed by Netanyahu, who would agree only to a partial moratorium.
PLO delegates said the experience of the past few months — the hopes raised by Barack Obama’s election and the frustration over the lack of subsequent progress — has left them groping for a new strategy.