Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Tuesday that he would be ready to resume peace negotiations with Israel if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu proposed any positive steps. “If there is anything promising or positive of course we will engage,” he said.
Speaking in his office in Ramallah, Abbas told Reuters he had no intention of allowing his people to take up arms against Israelis, but that he was ready to renew a unilateral push for Palestinian statehood at the UN if talks with Israel do not progress. “If nothing happens, at that time we will go to the United Nations to get non-member status,” he said.
Abbas refused to discuss the surprise announcement Tuesday of a unity government in Israel, saying only that it was too early to comment.
Kadima chief Shaul Mofaz said resuming the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations was an “iron condition” of his decision to join Netanyahu’s government.
Moments before a vote for the dissolution of the 18th Knesset in the early morning hours on Tuesday, a deal was announced in which the centrist Kadima party joined the current governing coalition. The deal staved off early elections which were anticipated in September.
Last month, Abbas sent Netanyahu a letter setting out his terms for a resumption of talks. The prime minister promised to quickly respond to the missive.