Abbas blames Israel for talks impasse

Visiting Lebanon, PA chairman claims he is extending his hand for peace but Israel refuses talks.

Elad Benari ,

Lebanon's President Michel Aoun and Abbas
Lebanon's President Michel Aoun and Abbas

Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday blamed Israel for the impasse in the peace process, Kol Yisrael radio reported.

Speaking during a visit to Lebanon, Abbas claimed the Palestinian Arabs are extending their hand for peace according to international resolutions, but Israel still insists on “holding Palestinian lands” and leaving Palestinian people “in a big prison.”

"This is something we cannot accept," declared Abbas who spoke in Beirut after meeting with Lebanese President Michel Aoun, according to Kol Yisrael.

The PA chairman further said that the Palestinian Arabs oppose all forms of terrorism.

Abbas arrived on Thursday for a three-day visit to Lebanon. In addition to Aoun, he will meet with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri and with the Speaker of the Lebanese Parliament.

Despite his remarks, Abbas has continuously refused to sit down for direct negotiations with Israel, despite Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s calls for him to do so.

Abbas and the PA have continued to impose preconditions on peace talks, including demanding that Israel halt construction in Judea and Samaria, release terrorists from its prisons and agree to a timeline of no more than a year for talks.

Last year Abbas claimed, during a meeting with Israeli reporters, that Netanyahu snubbed his efforts for peace talks.

Then-State Department deputy spokesperson Mark Toner later made clear that the United States was not familiar with Abbas's alleged attempts to meet with Netanyahu.

Reports last summer said that Israel had actually agreed to a three-way peace summit with the United States and the PA, but the PA preconditioned such a summit taking place on Israel ceasing construction in Judea and Samaria and releasing additional terrorist prisoners.