In an interview with Arab-language newspaper Kul al-Arab that was published on Saturday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called for a renewal of peace negotiations with Israel.
Abbas said that negotiating with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was not a problem. “The Palestinian people’s hands are always outstretched in peace,” Abbas said. “Ignoring these outstretched hands for peace could be devastating to both sides.”
However, Abbas reiterated that the Palestinian Authority already recognized Israel’s right to exist in the Oslo Accords, but the Palestinians would not recognize Israel as a Jewish state. “I have no hatred or animosity for the Jewish people or the State of Israel,” Abbas said.
According to Abbas, the two-state solution is the ideal resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Abbas said Israel should accept the Arab Peace Initiative and recognize an independent Palestinian state — based on the 1967 borders — with east Jerusalem as its capital.
Abbas also referred to the Palestinian Authority’s new membership in the International Criminal Court in The Hague, saying it was another layer in the diplomatic fight for independence. Abbas claimed the diplomatic isolation of Israel is not a Palestinian objective.
Israeli construction Minister Uri Ariel (Habayit Hayehudi) called Abbas statements “nothing short of chutzpah.”
“After unilaterally violating the agreements signed by the Palestinian Authority by turning to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, how dare Abbas say his hands are outstretched in peace?” Ariel asked.