Abbas calls on PM to return to the negotiating table

In interview with Channel 2, PA leader vows that as long as he is president there won't be a third Intifada, pushes for talks.

November 1, 2012 20:40
3 minute read.
Prime Minister Netanyahu and PA President Abbas

Prime Minister Netanyahu and PA President Abbas 390 (R). (photo credit: Jason Reed / Reuters)


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Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Thursday to return to the negotiating table and discuss the two states solution based on the 1967 borders, Channel 2 reported.

In an interview set to air Friday on Channel 2, Abbas also vowed that as long as he is PA president, there will be no third Intifada.

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"We don't want to use terror, we don't want to use force," Abbas said. "We want to use diplomacy and negotiations," he added.

A day earlier, Netanyahu discussed with French President François Hollande the need to rekindle the long frozen peace talks.

Netanyahu said he would be happy to meet Abbas in Paris.

“I am willing to go to negotiations right away without any preconditions,” Netanyahu said.

“If you want to test that, then President Hollande can invite President Abbas to the Élysée, and I’m here, I’m ready. It will take him a day to get here. We can start. From my point of view it’s immediate, and without preconditions,” Netanyahu said at the press conference.

Hollande seemed please by his words.

“That is a wonderful proposal,” Hollande responded.

“I have meet Abbas twice since my election and I hope the third meeting will be held with Prime Minister Netanyahu if he [Abbas] agrees,” Hollande said.

“But the idea is not to lay down basic principles, but to enter into negotiations,” said Hollande.

He added that he hoped both men would come to the table without preconditions.

“Abbas says he has no preconditions. The Israeli prime minister has no pre-conditions,” said Hollande. “Let’s negotiate,” he added.

Netanyahu responded, “President Hollande is free to make a phone call.” Hollande said that he believed a two state solution was best achieved through negotiations.

He spoke against unilateral measures such as the Palestinian bid for non-member state status at the United Nations, a move that would grant them de-facto recognition of statehood.

“It is tempting for the Palestinian Authority to seek from the General Assembly what it cannot achieve from negotiations with Israel,” said Hollande.

His words sounded different from that of his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy, under whose leadership France supported the Palestinian bid last fall to become a member state of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

An Israeli official said he believed that if the vote were taken again this fall, France’s position would be different.

The Palestinians have refused to negotiate with Israel until it stops building in West Bank settlements and Jewish neighborhoods of east Jerusalem.

Netanyahu has refused to heed that request, and has insisted that talks should move forward without preconditions.

“I was ready from the day I was elected prime minister. This was my policy, this will remain our policy,” he said.

"The distance between Ramallah and Jerusalem is all of seven minutes. It takes longer to cross a few blocks in Paris. It’s very close. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t sit down together,” Netanyahu said.

“We understand that there will be important steps that Israel will take, there will be important steps that the Palestinian Authority will have to take. The only way we can complete a negotiation is if we begin them,” Netanyahu said.

Hollande’s words in support of a negotiated settlements, was part of a two-day visit that began on positive and friendly note, which strengthen the relationship between them.

Tovah Lazaroff and Reuters contributed to this report.

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