RAMALLAH, West Bank — The Palestinians are ready to end all historic claims against Israel once they establish their state in the lands Israel occupied in the 1967 Mideast War, the Palestinian president said yesterday, addressing a longstanding Israeli demand.
In an interview with Israel TV, Mahmoud Abbas also said negotiations with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel remain his preference, but he will consider other options if talks break down over Israel’s continued settlement expansion.
Negotiations were relaunched by the Obama administration last month, but quickly faltered over Israel’s refusal to extend a curb on Jewish settlement construction. Abbas has said there is no point negotiating as long as settlements take over more land claimed by the Palestinians.
The Palestinians want to establish a state in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem, captured by Israel in 1967. Israel has withdrawn from Gaza, but about half a million Israelis have settled in the other war-won areas.
Netanyahu wants the Palestinians to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, and said last week that he might extend a curb on settlement construction in exchange for such recognition. A 10-month-old moratorium on West Bank housing starts expired in late September.
In an apparent attempt to sway Israeli public opinion, however, Abbas said that once the Palestinians have established their state in the 1967 borders, “there is another important thing to end, the conflict, and we are ready for that, to end the historic demands.’’
Also yesterday, Israel said it has resumed indirect talks with the Hamas rulers of Gaza on swapping hundreds of Palestinian prisoners for Sergeant Gilad Schalit, a soldier held for more than four years.