‘Palestinians are ready for confidence-building with Israel,’ says Abbas

At the trilateral summit in Cairo, the regional leaders discussed the need to resume negotiations for a two-state solution to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Embattled Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met with Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi in Cairo on Thursday, on the heels of an unprecedented meeting with Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz earlier this week.

At the trilateral summit, the regional leaders discussed the importance of resuming negotiations for a two-state solution to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as supporting Abbas’ resistance to “dangerous repercussions” stemming from Jewish building in Judea and Samaria.

According to a statement from Palestinian news agency Wafa, Abbas said he was ready to embrace “confidence-building steps” with Israel aimed at “achieving comprehensive calm in Palestinian lands.”

A statement from Sissi’s office said he “stressed the importance of joining efforts in order to support the Palestinian position towards a political settlement and push for the resumption of negotiations.”

During the ongoing tensions between Gaza-based terror groups and Israel, Egypt has emerged as a critically important interlocutor, largely facilitating the ceasefire agreement that ended May 2021’s Operation Guardian of the Walls and reportedly pressuring Hamas to temporarily suspend arson balloon attacks on Israel’s southern communities.

Last month, Egypt’s head intelligence officer visited Israel, and Bennett has said he was invited by Sissi for a rare visit to Cairo, though he’s given no indication as to when the trip would take place.

Earlier this week, Abbas hosted Gantz in Ramallah at a meeting which was given the green light by Bennett.

While a source from Bennett’s office told Hebrew-language media that the meeting strictly dealt with security issues and should not be interpreted as a sign of warming ties between the two sides or a move towards peace talks, many on the Israeli right saw it as a sign of the Israeli government caving on its hardline stance regarding the PA.

Gantz wrote on Twitter that the two men discussed “security-policy, civilian and economic issues.”

Hady Amr, the U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for Israeli-Palestinian affairs, warned Israel in a recent meeting that the PA is near collapse, urging the Jewish State to strengthen the ailing government or risk facing a situation in which Hamas and other terror groups come to power.

Abbas has faced heavy international criticism for his government’s staunch crackdown on critics and journalists, with the death of outspoken political activist Nizar Banat in PA police custody sparking widespread protests in PA-controlled areas.

The 85-year-old is wildly unpopular among Palestinians. In May 2021, 16 years into what was originally meant to be a 4 year term as PA premier, Abbas cancelled the first scheduled Palestinian general election since 2005.

A recent survey of Palestinians living in Judea, Samaria and Gaza found 53% believe Hamas is “most deserving of representing and leading the Palestinian people,” while only 14% prefer Abbas’ secular Fatah party.