Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told U.S. Jewish leaders on Wednesday that he would never deny Jews their right to the land of Israel, according to participants of the two-hour roundtable discussion.
Some 30 Jewish leaders from organizations such as AIPAC, the Anti-Defamation League, and the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations took part in the Washington meeting, which focused mainly on the indirect peace talks and violent incitements.
"I am sure some people don't agree with him but the fact that everybody showed up was pretty encouraging," one of the participants told Haaretz..
The Palestinian president said during the discussion that he had in the past proposed creating a trilateral commission to monitor and punish incitement, but that Israel did not agree to it.
When asked what he could offer Israelis to show that he was serious about peace initiatives, Abbas reminded the participants that he had addressed the Israeli public in an interview on Channel 10. "Why wouldn't Bibi go to Palestinian TV and do the same?" said the Palestinian president.
"I would never deny [the] Jewish right to the land of Israel," Abbas then declared.
Later on Wednesday, Abbas told Charlie Rose in an interview on PBS that Israel must agree to ceding East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital as a necessary precondition for any peace settlement.
"East Jerusalem is occupied territory. The entire world recognizes that including the United States of America," Abbas told Rose. "We cannot accept any solution that excludes East Jerusalem."
During that interview, Abbas also lauded Barack Obama's administration and its efforts to bring forth a two-state solution.
"This is the first time we hear from a U.S. administration talking about that the solution of a two-state solution is in the vital interest of the United States," said Abbas.
"The two-state solution is no longer only a Palestinian interest or an Israeli interest or a Middle East interest, but it is also an American interest."