Abbas calls Netanyahu “the partner for peace”, calls for increased cooperation with Israel

PA President gives rare interview to Israeli television Thursday, highlighting efforts by the PA to stop Palestinian terror and violence; Abbas calls for renewal of peace talks and that responsibility be given to him, through security cooperation, to govern the PA which he reported on the verge of “collapse”

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (AP)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (AP)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas gave a rare interview on Thursday for Israeli television in which he stated he views Prime Minister Netanyahu as a “the partner for peace” and is ready to meet with the Prime Minister and renew peace talks. He also as spoke of efforts by the Palestinian Authority (PA) to deter terror attacks and violence perpetuated by Palestinian youth and called for an end to violence.

The interview aired on Thursday evening, Abbas speaking at length on coordination between Israel and the PA to hinder attacks by Palestinian youth on Israelis. He stated “Our security forces go into the schools to search pupils’ bags and see if they have knives. You don’t know this… In one school, we found 70 boys and girls who were carrying knives. We took the knives and spoke to them and said ‘This is a mistake. We do not want you to kill and be killed. We want you to live, and for the other side to live as well.'”

He spoke of the chaos and reality of the Palestinian Authority on the “brink of collapse” calling that responsibility be given to him to deal with the situation, and for Israel to assist. He stated “Give me responsibility for the Palestinian territories, and test me… if Israel has specific intelligence information, give it to me and I’ll handle it.” He stated that he is not given intelligence information and asked, “So what am I doing here? Where is the security cooperation? You want me to be your employee, your agent. I don’t accept this, I want to do it myself.”

Abbas called Netanyahu “the partner for peace” stating that he wants to see peace in his lifetime and that “I still extend a hand to Netanyahu because I believe in peace. I believe that the people of Israel want peace and that the Palestinian people want peace.” He added that “If he [Netanyahu] gives me responsibility and tells me that he believes in two-state solution and we sit around the table to talk about the two-state solution, this will give my people hope, and nobody dares to go and stab or shoot or do anything here or there.”

Peace negotiations failed in 2014, efforts made by the international community, mainly the United States, to reengage leaders from the PA to enter serious negotiations with Israel. Following the failure of talks, the Palestinian Authority created a unity government with Hamas.

Following Operation Protective Edge over the summer of 2014, Egypt continues to manage a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel. While Hamas has violated the ceasefire on several occasions and continues to rebuild its terror tunnel network, the Palestinian Authority has given little indication or effort to renewing peace talks. Israel has been clear that it is willing to resume peace negotiation, however not while the PA is in unity with Hamas.

In September of 2014, the Cairo Agreement was made, in which the Palestinian Authority was to govern borders of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. A year after the creation of the unity government, the PA resigned from the unity government out of protest of Hamas.

Over the two year, Abbas has continuously refused to resume peace talks with Israel, on several occasions refusing to condemn Palestinian terror and violence over conflict of Al-Aqsa. His interview on Thursday, calling for renewal of talks, has been his first indication of doing such since the beginning of failed peace negotiations in 2014.