Prime Minister Netanyahu stressed that he had made the offer before, and was standing by his invitation: “I’m inviting him again. I’ve cleared my schedule this week. Any day he can come, I’ll be here”.
He underlined: “My door is always open for those who want to pursue peace with Israel”.
Netanyahu’s comments came after PA leader Mahmoud Abbas called for a meeting during an interview last week on Israeli television. Abbas told Israeli Channel 2’s ‘Uvda’ programme that he was willing to meet Netanyahu to reach a peace agreement. Abbas said: “I still extend a hand to Mr. Netanyahu because I believe in peace. I believe that the people of Israel want peace and that the Palestinian people want peace”.
The comments also came hours after President Reuven Rivlin made similar statements saying he was willing to meet Abbas. President Rivlin said: “We need to find a way to build trust between us…I am ready to meet with [Abbas] with whatever coordination with the Israeli government of course”.
Israel has accused Abbas of failing to condemn the wave of Palestinian attacks on Israeli civilians and security forces that erupted in mid-September, and says his PA has fomented the attacks by regularly sanctioning incitement to violence against Israel.
The wave of stabbing, shooting, and car-ramming terror attacks has killed 29 Israelis and four non-Israelis.
Abbas said in the interview that if it were not for his forces, the violence would be much bloodier now. He denied that he is encouraging Palestinian youth to stab Israelis and said that Israelis are unaware of his security forces’ efforts to prevent stabbings.