Netanyahu Invites Abbas to Speak in Knesset

YERUSHALAYIM -

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu issued a public invitation to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas from the podium of the Knesset on Monday to speak at the Israeli parliament and recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state.

“We can’t be expected to recognize a Palestinian state without the Palestinians recognizing Israel,” Netanyahu said during the special Knesset session held in honor of French President Francois Hollande’s visit to the country.

He has made such a formal recognition a condition of any final agreement. So far, Abbas has rejected the call.

“Let’s end the freeze [in peace talks],” the prime minister said, offering to come to Ramallah to speak to the Palestinian people.

Meanwhile, another important visitor with Israel on his itinerary, Secretary of State John Kerry, announced on Monday evening a postponement of his visit next week. Kerry was planning on giving another in-person push to the peace process.

The postponement fueled speculation that he will be in Geneva instead for the signing of an interim nuclear deal with Iran. But on Monday night, Kerry said he has no “specific expectations” for the next round in Geneva.