Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is calling Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s bluff, inviting the latter for talks in Jerusalem “any day”, reported The Jerusalem Post Monday. His words were a response to Abbas’s claims that he had made a secret offer to Netanyahu to restart peace talks.
Abbas was interviewed Thursday by Israel’s Channel 2. “I will meet with [Netanyahu], at any time. And I suggested, by the way, for him to meet,” he said in English during the interview. When asked what kind of response he had received for his efforts, Abbas replied, “No, no – it’s a secret. He can tell you about it.”
The prophet Ezekiel decries his fellow prophets for declaring false peace; Netanyahu likewise called out Abbas for his posturing.
Netanyahu spoke Monday, ahead of a meeting with Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek. “A few days ago on Israeli television, I heard President Abbas say that if I’d invited him to meet, he’d come,” he said. “So, as I said this morning to an American Congressional delegation, I’m inviting him again. I’m clearing my schedule this week. Any day he can come, I’ll be here.”
Earlier that day, Zaorálek met with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, who also spoke of renewed talks with Abbas. “Without mutual trust between the sides there won’t be negotiations and there won’t be a solution,” Rivlin said in a statement made during the meeting. He added that he was encouraged by Abbas’s words Thursday, calling his position “little more promising.”
In addition to offering to meet with Netanyahu, Abbas also committed Thursday to working towards stopping the ongoing Palestinian knife attacks and street violence.