Abbas Breaks Silence on Bennett-Lapid Government

YERUSHALAYIM -
Then-Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (right) and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas converse in the East Room at the White House in Washington, September 1, 2010. (Reuters/Jim Young /File Photo)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas broke silence on Wednesday regarding the new Israeli government, well into it second week in power.

Abbas said he is willing to work with “whoever the Israeli people choose,” though he has his doubts about the current choice.

“There was — and still is — a crisis of government in Israel. The new government, the change government, won by one vote. We will deal with whoever the Israeli people choose. So we will deal with them,” Abbas said, according to The Times of Israel.

However, he qualified his recognition of the Bennett-Lapid government, saying that Palestinian cooperation will depend on Israel “stopping its aggression and so on” before progress can be made on final status peace negotiations.

The remarks were made at a multi-day conference of Fatah’s Revolutionary Council.

The PA president included a touch of nostalgia in his speech, recalling that the last meeting he ever had with former Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu was in 2010. Abbas said he left the meeting after Netanyahu suggested that Israeli troops control the borders of a future Palestinian state for 40 years to ensure Israeli security.