At the same time, Abbas has sought to purge Fatah of prominent critics.
On June 12, Fatah was said to have expelled Central Committee member
Mohammed Dahlan, a former PA security chief. Palestinian sources said the PA
has also shut down dissident websites linked to Fatah members.
[On June 12, Hamas reiterated its opposition to the continuation of
Salam Fayad as prime minister of the PA, Middle East Newsline reported. Hamas said Fayad must be replaced
by a technocrat not linked to the rival Fatah movement.]
But the officials said Abbas has rejected the prospect that the PA
would withdraw its bid for international recognition of a Palestinian state.
They said Abbas has determined that the PA could not back down without a
loss of face.
Officials said the PA has been reassured that the bid for unilateral
statehood in the West Bank would be supported by an overwhelming majority of
the UN General Assembly in September. But they said Abbas has been warned
that the United States would veto the proposal in the Security Council.
In June, Abbas sent senior PA officials, including Saeb Erekat, to
Washington for consultations with the administration of President Barack
Obama. The administration also discussed Palestinian statehood with envoys
of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Officials said Washington has urged the PA to resume negotiations with
Israel as a face-saving measure that would avoid the unilateral declaration
of statehood. They said Abbas, under increasing pressure from critics within
Fatah, was not ruling out negotiations but would submit a membership request
to the UN in July.
Abbas has sought U.S. guarantees that Obama would insist on his formula
for the establishment of a Palestinian state in 2012. The president has
urged Israel to allow the Palestinians a state and later negotiate such
issues as Jerusalem as well as the demand for millions of Palestinians to
return to the homes of their ancestors.