Abbas: I’m ready to work with Israel to stop the incitement

Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas said on Tuesday that he is ready to work with Israel to stop the “mutual incitement” between the sides, the Ma’ariv newspaper reports.

Abbas made the comments as he spoke to a group of journalists from Romania who visited his office in Ramallah.

During the meeting, Abbas called to resume the Israeli-Palestinian-American committee which monitored incitement and which was established 15 years ago. Israel in 2014 disbanded the committee, explaining at the time that “there is no point in convening a committee that will be a cover-up for continued incitement by the Palestinian Authority.”

Abbas told the visiting journalists, according to Ma’ariv, that he is working to achieve a two-state solution, with a Palestinian state with its capital in eastern Jerusalem which lives in peace alongside Israel.

“We want to hear a clear statement from the government of Israel that it believes in the two-state solution," Abbas said, adding, "If that happens, it will be the beginning of a solution and we will conduct negotiations on the other issues."

The PA chairman also said that the “settlements” are the main obstacle to peace, "and therefore we demand a complete cessation of settlement construction in the Palestinian territories."

Abbas’s comments came one day after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said he was waiting for a visit by Abbas, after the latter said he had already proposed such a meeting.

"A few days ago, on Israeli television, I heard president Abbas say that if I invite him to meet, he'll come," Netanyahu told reporters at a meeting with visiting Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek.

"I'm inviting him again," he said in English. "I've cleared my schedule this week. Any day he can come, I'll be here."

President Reuven Rivlin also said on Monday he is ready to meet with Abbas.

The last round of peace talks between the PA and Israel were torpedoed by the PA in April 2014, after Abbas signed a unity deal with Hamas.

Netanyahu and Abbas shook hands at a climate summit in Paris in November, but held no significant talks. Netanyahu has repeatedly said he is open to talk with Abbas, but that the PA chairman is refusing to talk.


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