THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published — Thursday 24 January 2013
Last update 25 January 2013 12:37 am
RAMALLAH, West Bank: The Palestinian president will invite Israeli politicians to the West Bank to try to make sure peacemaking is on the new government’s agenda, a senior official said yesterday.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas wants to sit down with representatives of Israeli parliamentary factions to discuss the possibility of settling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict peacefully, senior Palestinian official Yasser Abed Rabbo told The Associated Press.
“We invite the Israeli parties, particularly the new ones, for dialogue on future accords,” Abed Rabbo said.
He did not say when the invitations would go out, but emphasized that Abbas wanted the meeting to take place before Israel forms its next government — a process that is expected to take several weeks.
Peace talks reached an impasse before Netanyahu came into office four years ago and never resumed in earnest.
Abed Rabbo said the Palestinians have not dropped two longstanding conditions for negotiations — Israel must stop settlement building and the contours of the Palestinian state must be negotiated on the basis of the borders Israel held before 1967.
While opinion polls indicate a majority of Israelis back the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, peacemaking was barely mentioned as a campaign issue, reflecting widespread doubts that peace is possible after decades of violence and stop-and-go talks.