Yet another peace initiative? Cyprus and the EU reportedly offered a new venue to restart the failed negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
Sources in the Palestinian Authority (PA) revealed Tuesday that Cyprus is pushing an initiative to revive the peace process between Israel and the PA, the Palestinian Ma’an news agency reports.
Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades reportedly phoned PA head Mahmoud Abbas on Monday and briefed him on the initiative before talking on Tuesday to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was visiting the island country.
Ma’an quotes “sources” saying that the initiative is “European and Cypriot” and includes an invitation to both Abbas and Netanyahu to separately address European Union (EU) leaders separately at a future summit in Brussels.
Ma’an says the Palestinian leadership is “still studying the initiative,” but also emphasized that it would not stand as a replacement for a French initiative to restart the diplomatic negotiations by exerting pressure on Israel through a United Nations Security Council resolution.
The Cyprus initiative would reportedly be implemented by the end of the year if agreed upon by the two sides.
Netanyahu accepted the invitation to address the EU on Tuesday and lauded Anastasiades’ efforts during his one-day visit to Cyprus. “I would welcome the opportunity to present Israel’s position to the EU,” Netanyahu said. “I think this is a very worthwhile initiative that you, Nicos, have brought up.”
Netanyahu stressed that actual dialogue between Israel and the Palestinians was of imperative significance. “Peace also depends on the willingness of parties to talk to one another and to try to put ancient issues behind them or at least resolve them in a way that they don’t prevent us from seizing the future,” he said.
It would be Netanyahu’s first address to the EU Council as premier, although he has spoken three times before at a joint session of Congress, the Jerusalem Post points out. To date, no Israeli prime minister has addressed the EU since its inception in 1993.
Interior Minister Silvan Shalom met secretly with Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat last week in Amman, Israeli sources revealed. The exact topics of discussion were not stated, but the general purpose of the clandestine meeting was to advance the peace process.
Peace negotiations between Israel and Palestinian leadership have been ongoing for decades. Official peace talks were suspended in April 2014 when Abbas formed a unity government with the Hamas terror organization, in violation of the Oslo Accords.
By: United with Israel Staff
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