Abbas to Meet Netanyahu?

YERUSHALAYIM -

There were conflicting reports on Thursday regarding whether Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has agreed to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, The Jerusalem Post reported.

A senior PA official claimed that Abbas has officially informed the U.S. of his willingness to sit down with Netanyahu, according to the Palestinian Quds Net News Agency.

Abbas has in the past refused Netanyahu’s invitations because he said he didn’t want to provide a photo-op that would only serve Israel’s interests.

“The U.S. administration played a big role in exerting pressure on Abbas to agree to a meeting with Netanyahu,” the official said. “We expect the meeting to take place in Yerushalayim in the next few days.”

However, a source in Abbas’s office denied the story, saying that such a meeting was “premature.” But the source did confirm that Washington had proposed they meet to move the peace process forward.

Meanwhile, PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi pulled in the opposite direction, calling for the PA to exit the peace talks, accusing Israel of seeking to destroy the prospects for peace and the two-state solution.

Ashrawi’s remarks came in response to the Yerushalayim Municipality’s decision to build 58 housing units in Pisgat Zeev,  and also condemned Israeli actions regarding Har Habayis.