Israel calls for peace talks amid Palestinian statehood push
The Israeli prime minister on Monday appealed for direct peace negotiations with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, to be started in New York and continued in Jerusalem and Ramallah.
“Unilateral measures are not the way to advance peace between us,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, referring to an Abbas plan to submit a member application for a state of Palestine to the United Nations Security Council on Friday.
It was not clear whether the Palestinian leader responded to Netanyahu’s call for talks, or whether a fresh round of negotiations could elicit a compromise that the last round could not. Peace talks between the two sides broke down a year ago.
Earlier Monday, Abbas told U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that he still intends to submit the statehood bid, said U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky, despite a tide of controversy accompanying the measure.
Abbas has pointed to decades of occupation and years of failed negotiations, prompting the move.
Monday’s meeting, which took place in New York at the start of the United Nations General Assembly, is part of what is expected to be a series of high-level meetings surrounding the hot topic of Palestinian statehood and the likely ripple effects of a formal application.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton added Monday that the American government continues to support a “two-state solution” in an effort to resolve the ongoing conflict, but also noted that she is engaged in “intensive ongoing diplomacy.”