Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Back to Opinion

Is Mahmoud Abbas Ready to Resume Peace Talks?

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is said to be willing to return to direct peace negotiations with Israel, reports Arab affairs correspondent Ehud Yaari of Israel’s Channel 2 TV News, who is probably Israel’s best informed and most respected reporter on the topic. Yaari claims that’s “what he [Abbas] is explaining in the corridors in Ramallah,” the Palestinian Authority capital.

The Times of Israel reports that a Palestinian Authority spokesman is denying Yaari’s report—but the accompanying quote seems more like a refusal to confirm rather than an outright denial (“’Please refer to official Palestinian sources and not the off-the-record game,’ an aide to Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said.”)

Abbas will explain his intentions and discuss the terms of the negotiations with Secretary of State John Kerry when he returns to the region on Thursday. According to Yaari, Abbas intends to return to the table for a limited period to test the intentions of Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s intentions and see if Netanyahu is serious about reaching an agreement. If Abbas concludes that Netanyahu is not serious, Yaari says, he will go back to the United Nations and say that the Palestinian Authority “cannot function under the circumstances.”

Here’s the original Ehud Yaari report (in Hebrew – the link will take you to Mako News)

In Jerusalem, meanwhile, “ranking political sources” are quoted by Yisrael Hayom expressing doubt about Abbas’s intentions. An unnamed official is quoted saying there have been such reports in the past and the test is deeds, not words: “Nobody will be surprised if Abu Mazen [Abbas] intends to renew the talks just so he can end them in a few weeks while blaming Israel for sabotaging the contacts and afterwards going back to the U.N. to ask for recognition of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders.”

Yaari reports that his Jerusalem sources are saying the important test is whether the Palestinians stay at the table for the long haul.

Engage

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.