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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Tuesday that if peace talks fail Israel will be responsible for governing, funding, and providing security for Palestinian lands.
Abbas has repeatedly hinted that he could devolve some of the limited powers his Palestinian Authority exercises in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
But his statement that Israel could be responsible for looking after 2.5 million Palestinians added urgency to an effort by the United States to extend negotiations set to expire next week.
"If the negotiations stop, it's the Israeli government that will bear the responsibility for the economic situation and the paying of the salaries of [Palestinian] employees, workers and farmers, for health and for education just as it did before the establishment of the Authority," he said according to a Reuters report of a meeting with journalists at his presidential headquarters in Ramallah.
"Also it will bear responsibility for security, meaning Israel will bear full responsibility ... We hope that we won't come to this period but that we come to solutions," he said, according to Reuters.
Palestinians want statehood for the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem. The stale peace process was rebooted in July by Secretary of State John Kerry but talks have been deadlocked for months.
Abbas made the comments one week before the deadline for the current round of deadlocked talks expires on April 29.
Reuters contributed to this report.