Palestinian president says he is ready to build confidence
CAIRO, Sept 2 (Reuters) – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday said he was ready to take confidence-building measures and restore calm in the Palestinian territories, although Israel’s actions have made a solution impossible two-state.
Abbas spoke as he met Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Jordanian King Abdullah in Cairo, days after speaking with Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz at a rare meeting of high level. Read more
Egypt played a leading role in negotiating a ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist faction Hamas after 11 days of conflict in May in the Gaza Strip, and has since tried to help strengthen the truce amid occasional upsurges of violence and facilitating reconstruction in Gaza.
In Cairo, the three leaders pledged “to work together to refine a vision to activate efforts to resume negotiations, and work with their brothers and partners to relaunch the peace process,” according to a statement issued by the Egyptian presidency. .
Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians collapsed in 2014 and analysts say there is little chance of relaunching them, in part because of divisions between Abbas’s Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas , which controls the Gaza Strip. The PA seeks an independent state in Gaza and the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
In a speech at the Cairo talks, Abbas said that although an escalation of Israeli “violations” made a two-state solution in accordance with international law unachievable, the Palestinian Authority was committed to peaceful methods.
“We renew our willingness to work at this stage to prepare the atmosphere through the application of confidence-building measures which include the achievement of an overall calm on Palestinian lands,” he said, according to a text published by the Palestinian news agency Wafa.
After Abbas met Gantz, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett quickly downplayed the idea of any move towards peace negotiations, although Israel also agreed to lend $ 150 million to the Palestinian Authority. Read more
Bennett’s Foreign Secretary Yair Lapid questioned the prospects for a two-state solution on Wednesday, saying such a move could destabilize Bennett’s far-right all-party coalition. Read more
Reporting by Mohamed Waly in Cairo and Ali Sawafta in Ramallah Writing by Aidan Lewis Editing by Mark Heinrich
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