PM Netanyahu challenges Palestinian Authority head Abbas to meet him

Responding to Abbas’ assertions that he would meet with the Israeli prime minister, Netanyahu said he would meet Abbas at any time.

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated Monday that he invites Palestinian Authority (PA) head Mahmoud Abbas to meet with him at any time of his choice, responding to comments by Abbas in an interview to Israeli media last week, that if Netanyahu were to invite him, he would meet with him.

“One of the things that concerns us is our desire to advance peace. A few days ago, on Israeli television, I heard President Abbas say that if I invite him to meet, he’ll come. So, as I said this morning to an American Congressional delegation, I’m inviting him again,” Netanyahu stated while meeting with Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek in Jerusalem.

“I’ve cleared my schedule this week. Any day he can come, I’ll be here,” Netanyahu challenged Abbas.

While saying that his “door is always open to those who want to pursue peace with Israel,” the Israeli premier said that the first item that must be addressed is ending the Palestinian campaign of incitement to murder Israelis, which has generated a wave of almost-daily Palestinian terror attacks that have claimed the lives of 33 victims and wounded hundreds.

In a later meeting, President Reuven Rivlin told the Czech minister that he too would be willing to meet with Abbas.

The last round of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians fell through in June of 2014 after Abbas established a unity government with the Hamas terror organization.

There have been various diplomatic efforts since, but the Palestinians have systematically avoided negotiating with Israel, and more recently, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Al-Malki stated that the Palestinians will “never again” engage Israel in direct negotiations towards a final diplomatic resolution to their dispute with Israel.

“We will never go back and sit again in a direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations,” he stated while on a visit to Japan in February with Abbas.