Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas once again turned down an American offer to meet with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for renewed peace talks, the Palestinian newspaper Al Quds reported this week.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry reportedly made the offer to President Abbas when the two met in Paris last month.
Prime Minister Netanyahu has repeatedly stated that he is willing to have “unconditional, direct, and bilateral negotiations” with Abbas, and announced in May that he was willing “to meet with President Abbas today in Jerusalem. If he’d like, in Ramallah. Right now. Today”.
He explained his readiness at a joint press conference with French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, stating: “I will sit alone directly with President Abbas in the Élysée Palace, or anywhere else that you choose. Every difficult issue will be on the table: mutual recognition, incitement, borders, refugees and yes, settlements – everything,” PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah rejected the offer: “Time is short. Netanyahu is trying to buy time, but this time he will not escape the international community”.
Abbas also reportedly turned down a peace initiative proffered by Vice President Joe Biden in March when the two met in Ramallah.
The two leader have not met to discuss peace in six years, despite Netanyahu’s repeated offers.