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I won’t rule out talks with Israel even if construction continues

October 3, 2012

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) told a number of Jewish leaders in the United States that he intends to show greater sensitivity to the demands made by the Jewish public regarding Israel. The meeting, which was held on the eve of Yom Kippur, was attended by some 10 prominent Jewish figures, the most famous of whom was Alan Dershowitz. Abu Mazen told his interlocutors that they would discern his changed attitude if they listened to his address to the UN General Assembly this afternoon.

The meeting was organized by the Center for Peace in the Middle East, and it was attended also by former Congressman Robert Wexler, who is considered to be one of the staunchest supporters of President Obama’ s reelection campaign. Wexler, during his seven years in Congress, always demanded that ties between Washington and Jerusalem be strengthened, and he currently serves as the president of the S. Daniel Center for Middle East Peace. Another person who attended the meeting was Peter Joseph, the president of the Israel Policy Forum. Leaders of the major Jewish organizations in the United States, such as the Conference of Presidents, the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Congress did not attend the meeting and [thereby] acceded to the request that was made by the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem. The Prime Minister’s Office suggested that they refrain from attending the meeting as long as Abu Mazen made a resumption of the talks contingent upon a construction moratorium in the “settlements.”

Jewish observers in the United States said that they were surprised to learn that Dershowitz, who is generally considered to be a staunch defender of Israel’s positions, attended the meeting. Dershowitz recently proposed that Israel agree to stop construction as soon as Abu Mazen came to a meeting with Israeli representatives, and to continue to do so as long as the talks continued. He said that construction would not stop prior to the meetings, as in the past. Abu Mazen said that he was prepared to sign off on Dershowitz’s proposal, and said it was important to renew the talks because of tension and the unstable situation in a number of Muslim countries in the Middle East, and because of the battle to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. “I don’t understand why Netanyahu is demanding that I recognize Israel as a Jewish state when I have repeatedly recognized the legitimacy of the State of Israel,” said Abbas.

Source: Makor Rishon

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