Abbas to Israel: Don't waste peace opportunity

PA chairman urges Israel to reach peace agreement based on the “two-state solution”.

Elad Benari ,

Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas
Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Monday called on Israel not to waste new opportunities for a peace agreement based on the “two-state solution”.

Abbas’s comments came at a press conference in Brussels with European Union (EU) foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.

“Our meeting today was important to discuss the latest developments in international efforts to find the best way to reach a just and comprehensive peace between us and the Israelis in light of the intention of the U.S. administration under President (Donald) Trump to work for peace,” said Abbas, according to the PA-based WAFA news agency.

“There were many contacts and meetings, and we are continuing discussions for the success of the American and international efforts, and I have assured President Trump that we are ready for a peace deal,” he added.

Abbas then said the PA is “committed to a just, comprehensive and permanent peace with our Israeli neighbors based on international and United Nations resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative that would end the Israeli occupation of the territory of the State of Palestine occupied since 1967 with East Jerusalem as its capital, which we want to keep as an open city for the followers of the three monotheistic religions.”

He also spoke out against Israel’s construction in Judea and Samaria, warning that “continuation of settlement activities and expropriation of Palestinian land will lead to the one-state situation with an apartheid system.”

The meeting between Abbas and Mogherini comes ahead of a meeting between Abbas and President Donald Trump, which is scheduled for some time in early April. The meeting between the two was discussed during a telephone conversation earlier this month.

Following that conversation, Abbas praised Trump and said he brings “hope” for peace, even though PA officials had previously criticized Trump for his failure to stop Israeli construction in Judea and Samaria.

Despite his calls on Israel to work towards a peace agreement, Abbas has consistently refused Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s invitations for direct negotiations, and has instead chosen to impose preconditions on such talks.