Abbas meets Israel opposition leader in Ramallah

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — President Abbas met with the leader of Israel’s opposition party in Ramallah on Sunday, Israeli media reported.

Abbas and Labor leader Shelly Yachimovich discussed the possibility of moving the peace process forward, with the opposition leader reiterating her support for a two state solution, The Times of Israel reported.

“The Labor Party is deeply committed to the peace process and the two-state solution,” Yachimovich told Abbas, according to the Israeli news site.

The Israeli opposition leader called on Abbas to respond to US mediation efforts by Secretary of State John Kerry to renew peace talks, but stressed that Israel’s first priority was the security of its citizens.

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine slammed Abbas’ meeting with Yachimovich, claiming that the Labor leader is exploiting the meeting to serve her own party’s agenda.

Such talks only serve the interests of Israel and the United States, who both want to maintain the current status quo, the statement added.

In late April, top Arab League officials met with Kerry to discuss the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, a Saudi proposal which would see 22 Arab countries normalizing ties with Israel in return for a withdrawal from lands it occupied during the 1967 Six Day War.

Speaking after the talks, Qatari Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim, agreed that any deal should be based on a two-state solution with the borders defined by the lines which existed before June 4, 1967, but also expressed support for mutually agreed land swaps.

Israeli minister Gilad Erdan, considered close to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, responded by saying Israel will keep refusing to negotiate on the basis of a total withdrawal from land it seized during the 1967 Six-Day War.

Netanyahu has so far categorically rejected outright any return to the “indefensible” lines which existed before June 4, 1967.

(Source / 12.05.2013)

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