Jerusalem – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu once again invited Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to Jerusalem for talks, four days after Abbas said in a Channel 2 interview that he was waiting for such an invitation.
“A few days ago on Israeli television, I heard President Abbas say that if I’d invited him to meet, he’d come,” Netanyahu said before a meeting with Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek. “So, as I said this morning to an American Congressional delegation, I’m inviting him again. I’m clearing my schedule this week. Any day he can come, I’ll be here.”
Netanyahu said that he and Abbas have “a lot of things to discuss, but the first time is ending the Palestinian campaign of incitement to murder Israelis.” Netanyahu said his door “is always open to those who want to pursue peace with Israel.”
During Thursday’s Channel 2 interview, Abbas said that he had offered to meet Netanyahu. “I will meet with him, at any time. And I suggested, by the way, for him to meet,” he said in English. Asked what became of that overture, Abbas said: “No, no – it’s a secret. He can tell you about it.”
Earlier Monday, President Reuven Rivlin met with Zaorálek and spoke of the need for direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians and said he was willing to meet Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to further this goal.
“Without mutual trust between the sides there won’t be negotiations and there won’t be a solution,” Rivlin said during a statement in the presence of the visiting Czech foreign minister.
The president said that he listened to Abbas’ recent address, calling the Palestinian leader’s words a “little more promising.”
Last week, Abbas said he was working to stop Palestinian knife attacks and other street violence against Israel and had offered to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to restart peace efforts.