Abbas Hopes for Dialogue with New Israeli Government
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has expressed his hope to resume dialogue with the new government that will be formed in Israel after the next elections.
Abbas, in a secret meeting with members of the Democratic Camp, including Noa Rothman - the granddaughter of late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin - accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of refusing to meet with him several times in Moscow, referring to the invitation made by Russian President Vladimir Putin to both leaders.
Abbas strongly attacked Netanyahu, saying he had “repeatedly opposed the formation of a unity government with Hamas and the establishment of Palestinian internal reconciliation, but he immediately paid millions of dollars to Hamas.”
The meeting, which took place on Tuesday, was not published by the Palestinian official news agency, but was revealed by the Israeli channel 13, which broadcast images of Abbas receiving the Israeli delegation.
The meeting with Abbas was secretly organized, with the sole knowledge of the party chairman Ehud Barak, who supported the initiative to meet with the Palestinian Authority president.
Rothman asked Abbas to take steps to free Israeli citizen of Ethiopian origin Avera Mengistu, who is being held by Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian president promised to help.
Hamas immediately described the meeting as “suspicious” and said it was a form of normalization with Israel and disregard for Palestinian sacrifices.
The Democratic Camp seeks to attract voters from the Blue and White or Labor parties.
Relations between Netanyahu and Abbas are currently at their worst with Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh accusing the Israeli government of waging an open war on the Palestinian people.
Israel’s general elections are set for September 17.