Rivlin calls on Abbas to renew peace talks

Rivlin calls on Abbas to renew peace talks

President urges Palestinian counterpart to meet in Jerusalem and call off ICC suit, UN statehood bid

President Reuven Rivlin (photo credit: Flash90)
President Reuven Rivlin (photo credit: Flash90)

President Reuven Rivlin on Sunday urged his Palestinian counterpart to renew peace talks, instead of pursuing efforts against Israel at the International Criminal Court or the United Nations.

“There is no other way than direct negotiations. Unilateral steps will not solve the conflict, but just give more power to the extremists,” Rivlin said during a visit by a delegation of US senators headed by Republican John McCain.

“I call upon President [Mahmoud] Abbas: Instead of going to The Hague or to the United Nations, come to Jerusalem. Come to talk directly to the Israeli government and people,” Rivlin said.

The Palestinians applied earlier this month to become a party to The Hague-based ICC and recognized its jurisdiction to retroactively cover a period of time that included the Gaza war.

The ICC announced Friday it was launching a “preliminary examination” into Israel’s actions in the Palestinian territories, including last summer’s war against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza.

The Palestinians last month also attempted to have a resolution passed at the UN Security Council calling for an Israeli withdrawal from lands captured in 1967, but it was rejected.

Both moves were strongly condemned by Israel and its key ally, the United States.

The latest round of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians collapsed nine months ago without any visible results.

The presidency in Israel is a largely ceremonial post, but past presidents have used the position to promote political messages.

Rivlin, who was a long-time member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, had in the past spoken against establishing a Palestinian state, but since being sworn in as president in July 2014 has largely restricted his public statements to internal Israeli issues.

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