Abbas Says He’s Ready To Negotiate

YERUSHALAYIM -

After over three years of impasse, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas indicated his willingness to resume peace negotiations with Israel for a limited amount of time, Israeli media reported on Monday.

Abbas apparently will insist on a fixed period of time for talks, purportedly to test the seriousness of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s intentions. The announcement came days ahead of Secretary of State John Kerry’s next trip to the Mideast, his fifth.

Yesh Atid praised Abbas’s announcement, saying in a party statement that “direct and courageous dialogue is the only way to solve the conflict.”

Peace talks broke down in 2010 over Palestinian objections to Israel’s building policy in Yehudah and Shomron, and their failure to rejoin talks even when Israel imposed a 10-month moratorium on building.

However, Netanyahu asserted last Thursday that the problem at the root of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not territory but the Palestinians’ refusal to accept Israel’s right to exist.

Shas MK Eli Yishai warned on Monday following the report that “if [Abbas] demands preconditions for negotiations, then the future of these negotiations will be written in history books as another diplomatic failure.”