Israel and the Palestinian Authority pledged their commitment to peace,
after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's envoy Yitzhak Molcho travelled
to Ramallah Saturday night to deliver a letter on his behalf to Palestinian Authority
President Mahmoud Abbas.
A statement issued by the Prime
Minister's Office after the meeting said, "Israel and the Palestinian
Authority are committed to achieving peace and the sides hope that the
exchange of letters between President Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu
will further this goal."
The letter from Netanyahu comes in response
to one which Abbas sent him last month in which he stated that talks would only
be renewed when Israel froze construction in east Jerusalem and the
This written exchange is the latest attempt to revive the
frozen peace process. The two men have not met face to face since
Earlier in the day Abbas received a phone call from US
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and discussed with her the latest
developments in the region.
A PA official said that Abbas urged the US
administration to intervene with Israel to accept the demands of hundreds of
Palestinian prisoners who have been on hunger strike for the past few
Abbas also met Saturday in Ramallah with a delegation from
US-based Israel lobby group J Street and briefed it on the latest developments
surrounding the stalled peace process. During the meeting Abbas reiterated his
commitment to the peace process and the two-state solution.
that he would be prepared to return immediately to the negotiating table if the
Israeli government accepted the two-state solution and agreed to freeze
construction of new homes in the West Bank settlements and east Jerusalem, the PA official said.
J Street President Jeremy Ben- Ami told
The Jerusalem Post that Abbas also spoke of the need for an upfront commitment
from Israel that a final status agreement would be based on the 1967 line with
agreed land swaps.
The meeting came toward the end of an eight-day J
Street trip to the region, which included a stop in Jordan and a visit with its
King Abdullah II.
According to Ben-Ami, Abbas told the delegation that he
is deeply committed to the twostate solution and is looking for a diplomatic
Ben-Ami said the impression he received from the trip is
that the window of opportunity for a two-state solution is slipping
“The time has come for action,” he said.
consistently called on Abbas to return to the negotiating table without
He issued his latest call to Abbas to hold direct
negotiations last Tuesday during a joint press conference with Vice Premier
Shaul Mofaz, in which the two men announced the formation of a 94-member
national unity government.
On Friday evening UN Secretary General Ban
Ki-moon called Netanyahu to congratulate him on the expanded
Netanyahu also spoke on Friday evening with incoming Russian
president Dmitry Medvedev and congratulated him on his new position. The two
leaders spoke of joint activities between their countries.
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