Abbas to Kerry: Support French Initiative to Convene International Peace Conference

Palestinian president reiterates support of French peace initiative; Netanyahu slams Abbas for 'paying the salary' of the Palestinian police officer behind Sunday terror attack.

AFP

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry phoned Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday to discuss West Bank tensions and the French initiative to convene an international peace conference. Kerry told Abbas that actions must be taken to calm the situation, and updated him on his meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Davos last week.

According to a statement released by his office, Abbas reiterated his support of the French initiative to Kerry and asked for his support in ending the political deadlock. Abbas asked Kerry to demand that Israel stop its allegations against the Palestinian Authority and hand over the bodies of dead terrorists currently being held.

While Abbas was speaking to Kerry, Netanyahu criticized the Palestinian president on his Facebook page after a Palestinian police officer shot three Israeli soldiers near Beit El earlier in the day.

"The terrorist gets his salary from the Palestinian Authority - they are behind the incitement that motivates terror against Israel," wrote Netanyahu. "Abbas did not condemn the attack carried out by one of his men. While Israel is fighting terrorism, the international community must stop the hypocrisy and demand that the Palestinian authority stop incitement that fans the flames of terrorism."

Earlier Sunday, Netanyahu said he would work to convince the French to revoke their threat to recognize a Palestinian state from their new initiative to convene an international peace summit. Netanyahu told the government's weekly meeting Sunday that he believes his efforts will succeed.

"You must have heard the proposal emanating from French circles, to convene an international summit with a threat at its end, that if it doesn’t succeed then France in effect will largely adopt the Palestinian stance," he said.