Mahmoud Abbas and Pope Francis
Mahmoud Abbas and Pope FrancisReuters

Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday welcomed Pope Francis’ call for the resumption of dialogue between Israel and the PA, the WAFA news agency reported.

In his Christmas message, the Pope said he hoped the festive season would lead to a resumption of peace talks between Israel and the PA.

"May this Christmas help us to rediscover the bonds of fraternity linking us together," he said, adding, "May it enable Israelis and Palestinians to resume dialogue and undertake a journey of peace that can put an end to a conflict that for over 70 years has rent the land chosen by the Lord to show his face of love."

Abbas affirmed the PA’s readiness to resume peace talks with Israel on the basis of the international law and relevant United Nations General Assembly and Security Council resolutions, according to WAFA.

The Pope met Abbas several weeks ago at the Vatican, and called for the implementation of a “two-state solution” to solve the decades old Israel-PA conflict.

The Vatican recognized “Palestine” as a state in 2013. Last year, the PA opened an “embassy” in the Vatican. This occurred after an accord between the Holy See and the PA on the establishment of an “embassy” took effect.

During a 2015 meeting with Abbas, the Pope referred to Abbas as "an angel of peace", causing outrage on social media.

The Vatican later explained that the reference was mistranslated, and in fact was meant as encouragement for Abbas to pursue peace with Israel.

Despite Abbas’ claims that he is willing to resume negotiations with Israel, he has continuously imposed preconditions on talks and has ignored calls from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to sit down for negotiations.