Yacimovich Meets Abbas To Promote Peace Talks

YERUSHALAYIM -

Opposition leader Shelly Yacimovich met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah on Sunday to try to promote a return to peace talks, according to media reports.

Yacimovich told Abbas her party is prepared to serve as a “safety net” for the government in the event a bilateral agreement is reached and members of the ruling coalition refuse to go along.

The two discussed the chances of progress in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, and Yacimovich called for peace talks to resume immediately with a view toward realizing a two-state solution along with guarantees for Israel’s security.

“Now is the time to respond to U.S. mediation efforts to renew the talks,” Yacimovich told Abbas, referring to Secretary of State John Kerry’s bid to draw the parties back into direct negotiations which have been stalled for over two and a half years.

“If we are on the cusp of signing a treaty and [Economic and Trade Minister Naftali] Bennett threatens to quit, we won’t be the opposition, and will re-examine entering the government,” a spokeswoman for Yacimovich said last Wednesday.

Labor responded enthusiastically to Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani’s announcement in Washington that the Arab League would be willing to deviate from pre-1967 lines and consider “minor” land swaps.

Meanwhile over the weekend, the Fatah Central Council accepted the Arab League’s latest proposal for land swaps with Israel, The Jerusalem Post reported.

The announcement was seen as strengthening Abbas politically, in the wake of criticism from some Fatah officials for supporting the initiative.

However, they stressed that they foresee only “minor and mutual adjustments” to the 1967 lines.

A PA spokesman said that Secretary of State John Kerry will announce the results of his current efforts to resume peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians on June 7.