Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) reacted Saturday night to the call issued by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (aka Abu Mazen) to Israel, to renew peace negotiations with him.
"Abu Maen's statement is no less than chutzpah,” Ariel stated. “After he unilaterally abrogated the agreements that the PA signed, and appealed to the International Criminal Court at The Hague, he dares to say that his hands are outstretched in peace.
"Israel should tell Abu Mazen clearly that in order [for it] to go back and sit down with him, he must clearly take back all of the violations of the accord that he performed.
"He must understand in a clear way that Israel will not go back to the agreement if it means folding all of its values,” Ariel added.
Abbas called on Israel Saturday to return to the negotiating table with the PA.
In an interview with the Israeli Arabic website Al-Arab, Abbas said Israel stands to gain if it agrees to the “Arab peace initiative.”
"I have no problem negotiating with Netanyahu because he represents the state of Israel,” he said. “My hand is always stretched out.”
"We made great headway in the negotiations with [then-PM Ehud] Olmert, in which we discussed everything, and suddenly he was distanced from the political arena.”
"We say to the nation in Israel: our hands are stretched out to coexistence between the two countries; do not chop off the hand that is stretched out in peace because the alternatives do not help anyone. The alternatives are destructive.”
Abbas also asked that Arab countries intervene in Gaza to restore the rule of the PA there, instead of Hamas. “Resolute action should be taken, as happened in Yemen,” he said.
Abbas's peaceful protestations come less than a week after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu accepted the recommendation of Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, as well as the IDF and Shin Bet security service, andunfroze millions of dollars in tax revenue for the PA.