If that were the case, then a final status agreement could be reached within six months, period, since there's absolutely no reason for construction within Jewish communities in the disputed territories - or even the rampant Arab construction in the disputed territories - to affect real negotiations.
The real meaning of Abbas' words is - no surprise - he really isn't interested in a settlement.
Of course, even if he was, and if he was willing to make some reasonable compromises - something he's shown zero inclination for thus far - any agreement would be at best meaningless since Abbas also has zero influence in Gaza and can't put any agreement into effect.
There were some other parts of the interview with Abbas, available on the Haaretz web site, which have been given even less attention but which are rather interesting.
The article describes Abbas as saying the "Palestinians had no preconditions for talks with Israel," but insisted on a construction freeze.
Hmm. That sure sounds like a precondition.
Abbas was also rather witty, saying: "We were required to stop terror attacks, recognize Israel and even stop incitement. So come and see what we did. Although the joint committee against incitement is no longer active, we did act and are acting against incitement. They said there is a problem with incitement in speeches in mosques during Friday prayers. Today there is no more incitement at any mosque."
I admit I haven't been to any of the mosques in the West Bank or Gaza lately, but I'm certainly aware that there is plenty of incitement at mosques. There is also plenty of incitement coming directly from Abbas' Palestinian Authority, including in its schools.
From the article:
What would happen with Hamas-ruled Gaza if an agreement were signed between the Palestinian Authority and Israel? "Hamas has no connection to the negotiations for which I am responsible. We have said this in the past. Any agreement we reach, we will submit for a referendum," Abbas said.
Of course, Abbas can't even hold elections because Gaza is under Hamas control. If he reached an agreement, he wouldn't be able to submit it for a referendum and it would be pointless anyway because Hamas wouldn't adhere to it.
Actually, given the PLO's track record, they wouldn't adhere to it either.
It's time for Israel to stop trying to appease Abbas. It declared a ten-month moratorium on new construction in the disputed territories with the purpose of drawing Abbas into renewed negotiations, even though such negotiations themselves are a violation of the road map since they are not supposed to take place until the earlier, performance-based steps are taken and the Palestinian Authority, despite Abbas' words, hasn't come anywhere close to implementing its first step obligations.
Israel should give Abbas one month and declare that if he doesn't renew negotiations within a month the moratorium ends immediately rather than after ten months.
One final point, which has been made by others but is given little attention: if the Palestinian Arabs were really concerned about the effects of construction within Jewish communities in the disputed territories, such construction would be a spur to negotiate, rather than an impediment, since a negotiated agreement is the only way for the Palestinian Authority to actually gain control of territory and establish the apartheid state they claim to crave.