Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas Reuters

Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud 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, and unfroze millions of dollars in tax revenue for the PA.

The Prime Minister's Office confirmed that following the decision the funds would be transferred to the PA immediately, although it added it would deduct debts due for water, electricity and other unpaid bills.

The PMO stated that the decision had been taken "based on humanitarian considerations and from a wider perspective the interests of Israel at this time."

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