Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday that he believed Israel and the Palestinians could reach a deal within two months, if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was willing to take a new approach in the peace process.
The Palestinian president reiterated that the time had come for decisions, rather than talks, and said that Jerusalem must be the non-negotiable capital of the Palestinian state. Abbas did add, however, that the Palestinians would not make a unilateral declaration of statehood.
Netanyahu said in response to reports of Abbas' remarks that he was willing to sit with the Palestinian leader for direct negotiations until the two sides reach a peace agreement.
"If Abu Mazen [Abbas] agrees to my offer to meet directly on core and significant issues, we'll know very quickly if it is possible to reach an agreement," Netanyahu said.
On Thursday, Netanyahu said that the Palestinians are responsible for the deadlock in peace talks, saying they have been evading negotiations while Israel is striving for peace.
Moreover, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman last week attacked the Palestinian Authority, calling it an "illegitimate" body, and said that the Palestinians will always find excuses not to sign a peace deal.
The current round of peace negotiations collapsed in late September, just weeks after they were launched, when Israel ended a slowdown on settlements in the West Bank. By December, the U.S. abandoned trying to persuade Israel to halt the settlements.
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