Palestinian president says he's ready for confidence-building

Filed on September 2, 2021
Mahmoud Abbas with Abdel Abdel Fattah Al Sisi and King Abdullah in Cairo during a trilateral summit. — AFP

Mahmoud Abbas meets Egyptian President and Jordan's King in Cairo

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Thursday he was ready to take confidence-building measures and restore calm in the Palestinian territories though Israel’s actions had made a two-state solution impossible.

Abbas spoke as he met Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi and Jordan’s King Abdullah in Cairo, days after he held talks with Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz in a rare high-level meeting.

Egypt played a leading role in brokering the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas after 11 days of conflict in May in the Gaza Strip, and has since been trying to help reinforce the truce amid occasional renewed flare-ups of violence and to facilitate reconstruction in Gaza.

In Cairo, the three leaders pledged “to work together to refine a vision to activate efforts aimed at resuming negotiations, and work with brothers and partners to revive the peace process”, according to a statement released by Egypt’s presidency.

In an address at the Cairo talks, Abbas said that although an escalation of Israeli “violations” had made a two-state solution in line with international law unattainable, the PA was committed to peaceful methods.

“We renew our readiness to work in this stage to prepare the atmosphere by the application of confidence-building steps that include achieving comprehensive calm in Palestinian lands,” he said, according to a text published by The state-run Palestinian news agency Wafa.

After Abbas met with Gantz, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett quickly played down the idea of any move towards peace negotiations, though Israel also agreed to lend the Palestinian Authority $150 million.

Bennett’s foreign minister, Yair Lapid, cast doubt on Wednesday on the prospects for a two-state solution, saying such a move could destabilise the far-right Bennett’s cross-partisan coalition.

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