Netanyahu proposes peace summit with Abbas this month
Abbas: Israel sabotaging Palestinian achievements by killing us; says won't resort to violence.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has proposed meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas later this month in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh, government sources said Thursday.
"There is a possibility of a breakthrough surrounding the resumption of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority," senior officials in the Prime Minister's Office said earlier Thursday.
The Egyptian administration began efforts to bring the Palestinians back to the negotiating table following Netanyahu's recent visit in Cairo, the officials said.
"Israel's idea of an Egypt-hosted peace summit with Abbas was proposed during Netanyahu's talks with Mubarak," an Israeli official told Reuters. Another official confirmed Netanyahu had raised the summit idea.
They added that Abbas was expected to arrive in Cairo next week to meet with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. They said further that the Egyptian diplomacy was being closely coordinated with the American administration.
Nabil Abu Rdainah, an aide to Abbas, said the region "will see important political activity in the next two weeks."
The plan is to send Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit and Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman to Washington after Abbas meets with Mubarak, to brief the American administration on any progress.
The Egyptian initiative apparently stems from promises made by Netanyahu to Mubarak during his trip earlier this week regarding Israel's commitment to peace talks. Netanyahu presented Mubarak with agreements reached between Israel and the U.S. regarding the preconditions for talks, including the issues of Jerusalem and the Palestinian demand to return to 1967 borders
Abbas: Israel sabotages Palestinian achievements by killing us
Meanwhile, Abbas accused Israel on Thursday of trying to sabotage Palestinian achievements - mainly the enforcement of law and order, stability and security in the West Bank - through its military incursions and killing of Palestinians.
In an address in Ramallah marking the 45th anniversary of the first attack by his Fatah organization against Israel, on January 3, 1965, Abbas said the Palestinian people would not fall into the Israeli trap and resort to violence to retaliate against these Israeli actions.
He said, however, that the Palestinians will continue to fight for their freedom through what he described as "legitimate resistance" guaranteed by international law.
"As we make achievements," he said, "the Israeli government and the more extreme elements escalate their measures against us."
The Israeli killing of six Palestinians over the weekend in Gaza and the West Bank city of Nablus was "a despicable and atrocious act," he said.
Israel "seeks through these provocative and ongoing acts to drag us to a violent reaction to relieve itself from international isolation by making us appear as the aggressor," said Abbas, urging the Palestinians not to do anything "uncalculated."
Israel said the three killed in the West Bank were behind the fatal shooting December 24 of an Israeli settler in the northern West bank, and the three in the Gaza Strip had been killed while approaching the border fence armed with explosive devices.
Abbas said the international community has "an unprecedented understanding of our position," stressing that no country, not even the United States, backed Israel's settlement policy.
He urged the Israelis to accept the Palestinian hand stretched for peace saying "peace between us should be based on the principle of your withdrawal from our land occupied in 1967, including East Jerusalem."
He said "peace alongside your state is what will bring security, stability and coexistence."
Recalling the first anniversary of a 21-day Israeli offensive in Gaza, which left over 1,400 Palestinians dead, thousands wounded and heavy damage to homes and infrastructure, Abbas said the Palestinian Authority will follow up on recommendations by Richard Goldstone on that war "until we bring every war criminal before the International Court of Justice."
South African justice Goldstone accused Israel and the Islamist Hamas movement, which has ruled the Gaza Strip since June 2007, of committing war crimes and possible crimes against humanity, but in different proportions, in a report commissioned by the United Nations Human Rights Council.