Naming no preferred PM, Abbas says he hopes for peace after Israeli elections
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Naming no preferred PM, Abbas says he hopes for peace after Israeli elections

‘We don’t need any government that doesn’t believe in peace,’ Palestinian Authority leader says, amid race between Netanyahu and Gantz

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (R) and Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee Secretary-General Saeb Erekat (L) attend the opening session of the 30th Arab League summit in the Tunisian capital Tunis on March 31, 2019. (Fethi Belaid/Pool/AFP)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (R) and Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee Secretary-General Saeb Erekat (L) attend the opening session of the 30th Arab League summit in the Tunisian capital Tunis on March 31, 2019. (Fethi Belaid/Pool/AFP)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said he hoped that Israel’s parliamentary elections on Tuesday could help bring peace.

Right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was facing a close battle with centrist Benny Gantz in the polls, but seemed more likely than his challenger to be able to build a majority coalition and retain power.

Without supporting a particular candidate, Abbas told journalists in Ramallah he was following the elections.

He said he hoped the new government would understand “peace is in ours, theirs and the world’s interests.”

“All that we hope is there will be a just way, a correct way to reach peace,” he said. “We don’t need any government that doesn’t believe in peace.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz (Oded Balilty and JACK GUEZ / AFP)

Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations have been frozen since the US-brokered process collapsed in 2014 amid mutual accusations of blame.

Abbas, whose government is based in the West Bank, reiterated that the Palestinian leadership would be open to negotiations.

But he has frozen ties with the White House over US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and has vowed not to cooperate with the peace plan Washington is expected to release.

The Palestinians see Trump’s administration as blatantly biased in favor of Israel.

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