Abbas says he is ready to meet with Netanyahu

PNN/ Ramallah/
The Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas said he is ready to meet the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington next month, to discuss  ways to revive the negotiations.

“I am ready to meet the prime minister of Israel any time in Washington under the patronage of President [Donald] Trump,” Abbas told The Asahi Shimbun late last month.

The White House on Wednesday said that Trump would host Abbas in Washington on May 3, Reuters reported.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said: “They will use the visit to reaffirm the commitment of both the United States and Palestinian leadership to pursuing and ultimately concluding a conflict-ending settlement between the Palestinians and Israel.”

“We are going to meet President Trump in April to continue our discussion on how to conclude a peace deal with the help of the US president,” Abbas said in written responses to The Asahi Shimbun’s questions.

He said Palestine was glad that the US administration “listens about us from us, and not from third parties.”

The Israeli-Palestinian negotiations stopped when Israel continued to build illegal settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Since Trump took office as president, Israel approved over 6,000 new settlement units.

But during Netanyahu’s visit to Trump, the latter said he wanted the Israeli prime minister to “hold back on settlements for a little bit”.

Trump spoke to Abbas on March 10 and invited him to the White House. He told Abbas that a peace deal must be “negotiated directly between Israel and Palestine” and that the US would work closely with both parties to achieve the goal.

Trump’s more favourable approach to Israel has stoked concerns among Palestinians. He spoke to Netanyahu at least twice since taking office on January 20 and the Israeli prime minister visited Washington in February.

During a February 15 media conference, Trump was ambivalent about a two-state solution. “I am looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like,” he said.

Abbas stressed that there was “no alternative to the two-state solution on the 1967 border”.

“We have called upon the US administration to engage in making a peace deal between Palestinians and Israelis and that we are willing to help and cooperate based on two states on 1967,” he added.